It’s not every day you receive an invitation to lunch at The House of Lords!

On 23rd April, Helen Hoff, who works at Ringwood School, was invited by Lord John Bird to a celebration of the work of The Big Issue Foundation, along with about sixty others from across the country.
After a buffet lunch, Lord Bird spoke about the work of the organisation, and his passionate desire to see poverty and homelessness eradicated in this country. He welcomed the Big Issue vendors who attended, and thanked invited guests, all of whom are supporting the foundation in some way.

Big Issue Ambassador, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, told her incredibly powerful and moving story from homelessness at 16, to selling enough magazines to get a roof over her head. She is now one of the highest ranking women in the fire service, a published author, and has a PhD. An inspiration to all who attended, but an especially encouraging message to vendors to realise their potential.

The final speaker was the Rt Hon James Brockenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, who thanked Lord Bird for his tireless work in giving homeless people an opportunity to work their way out of poverty. He recognised the link between homelessness and lack of affordable housing, and detailed the actions the Government are taking to support the most vulnerable in society, acknowledging that we still have a way to go.

Helen, who has worked with sixth form students to raise money for the social enterprise organisation for the past 9 years, said “It was a real honour to represent Ringwood School at this event, and a privilege to be invited to The House of Lords. The speakers were inspirational, and I hope to use the experience to continue encouraging students to get involved in social action”

Here is an article on Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, which was amazingly on the news feed early this week!

Helen Hoff and John Bird