Homeless Unit backs rough sleeper newspaper

7 Jun 01
A government unit is set to provide financial backing for a newspaper for the homeless. Funding for the newspaper, Rhythm of the Streets , will come from the Rough Sleepers' Unit.

08 June 2001

The unit is also considering providing premises and production facilities. The total cost is unknown as the budget is still being drawn up.

The newspaper, which will be written, edited and produced by homeless people, will act as an information point and allow those sleeping rough to share experiences.

The unit said providing money for Rhythm of the Streets was consistent with its policy of funding other 'social businesses'.

'We are very keen on social businesses,' said a spokesman. 'We think this one is worth pursuing.'

Other projects backed by the unit include a community food project in Stoke and a gift catalogue business in Cambridge.

Although discussions are still at the 'embryonic stage', the unit said the newspaper would not be in competition with more established titles. 'It won't be in competition with the Big Issue. The difference is that it will be written by homeless people,' said the spokesman.

Rhythm of the Streets is the brainchild of Gary Saxton, who was homeless 'on and off for eight years' and is now a freelance journalist in London.

Saxton, who abandoned plans to run as an independent in the general election, has been producing the newspaper from his own resources in the past few months.

'The whole object of the newspaper is to get a magazine out there on social exclusion and give people a chance to be included,' he said.


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