New documentary shares real life stories of homelessness and recovery in Northampton

A documentary film sharing real life stories of homelessness and recovery in Northampton has been created alongside a Virtual Reality experience enabling people to see rough sleeping through the eyes of people with a lived experience.

Streets of Change aims to raise awareness of homelessness by following people’s journey from sleeping on the streets to recovery and signposting to the support available for those who find themselves in a housing crisis.

Film makers One to One Development Trust have been working closely with West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Outreach Team to document their work supporting people who are homeless, sleeping rough or struggling with addiction. 

Each day the Outreach Team, alongside colleagues from Change, Grow, Live, check up on rough sleepers in the town and help support with their specific needs with the aim of helping them to integrate back into the community. 

Judi Alston, Film Director of One to One Development Trust has been talking to people who are sleeping rough, living in in temporary accommodation and the workers that support them. She said: “There are a lot of preconceptions about people who are homeless. This project aims to address some of those stereotypes and bring more awareness to the stories of those affected by showing the importance of agencies working together to support this growing societal problem.”

Homelessness is an escalating problem across the UK. In January 2024 there were 92 known people who were homeless in West Northamptonshire, and the numbers are rising with up to 5 new referrals every day. Mortality rates for the homeless are on average 30 years less than the national average according to national homeless charity Crisis. 

WNC works closely with many partner agencies including Northampton Hope Centre and Midland Heart as well as many dedicated voluntary groups, to support people in need. 

“Eradicating homelessness is a top priority for the Council and we are committed to working with partners to take a preventative approach when it comes to homelessness and rough sleeping.

“Our Outreach Team already deliver exceptional work to support our most vulnerable residents including daily checks to ensure they are safe and well and signposting to support services for their individual needs.

“This documentary film is testament to this work which has resulted in people moving off the streets and into secure accommodation where they have an opportunity to start fresh and live safely and well.”
Cllr Adam Brown, Leader of WNC

In addition to the documentary film, the One to One Development Trust have also produced an immersive Virtual Reality experience to give an insight into what it is like to be alone and homeless on the street at night. The Virtual Reality scene uses poetry and artwork created by people who are homeless to bring together an evocative experience that can be used in education and for awareness-raising.

The documentary film and Virtual Reality experience will be launched in May, followed by a regional, and national tour of screenings at Film Festivals and events. People can view the documentary trailer here.

To find out more about the council’s homelessness provision or if you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, please visit the WNC website

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