Homes for Cathy

Homes for Cathy

It is 50 years since Ken Loach’s film ‘Cathy Come Home’ first hit our screens.

In late 2016 and early 2017, SYHA facilitated a number of inspiring events in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, as part of the ‘Homes for Cathy’ campaign; a campaign that sees a group of twenty housing associations across the country come together, to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of ‘Cathy Come Home’. When the film was first released in 1966, it had a huge impact on the state of housing and public perceptions of homelessness. Our founder, John Belcher, was so inspired by the film and its message that he set up the then named Sheffield Family Association to support young homeless families. By hosting these events, we wanted to re-examine the important themes within Ken Loach’s radical film, encouraging engagement, and asking audiences the question “Where would Cathy and her family be today?” Our aim is to get people in Sheffield and the surrounding areas talking about the current housing crisis, and the issues surrounding homelessness, offering them practical solutions on what they can do to help.

As part of our Sheffield campaign, we organised screenings of the original film at the Showroom cinema, for our partners, members of the public and local schools. These were followed by Q&A sessions with prominent figures within housing, and local homelessness charities, such as Roundabout and the Cathedral Archer project. Next, we had screenings of the film at several SYHA projects; we asked our residents how it made them feel and about their own housing experiences.

Many SYHA staff, stakeholders, customers and residents went along to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Cast in Doncaster and Barnsley Civic, to watch Cardboard Citizens ‘Cathy’, a modern retelling of ‘Cathy Come Home’. We collaborated with both Cardboard Citizens and local Forum Theatre practitioners Dead Ernest to deliver Forum Theatre workshops, where participants learnt how to use Forum Theatre as a tool for personal empowerment and to share stories that are important to them. You can watch their reactions to ‘Cathy’ and see footage from the Cardboard Citizens workshops in the videos above and below.

The ‘Homes for Cathy’ group is continuing to plan events which raise awareness about homelessness and the Housing Crisis. If you are interested in finding out more about the campaign, or would like to tie it in to your own homelessness event, please tweet us at @HomesforCathySY