When Kieran Macdonald walked past a homeless man in Burnley town centre just days after Christmas, he did the unthinkable. He spared him some change.
Like so many of us do, his first instinct had been to avoid eye contact, bow his head and keep on walking. But something about the man struck a chord with the 20-year-old.
Now, Kieran, who lost his job just prior to the festive period, will be spending 24 hours on the streets of Burnley to raise money for charity Shelter.
“I was walking back from the library and I just bumped into him,” he said. “Usually I’d just put my head down and walk past but there was something different about him. He looked at me and just looked away so I dug into my pocket and gave him a few quid. I have never seen somebody look so happy.”
The man shook Kieran’s hand, said ‘thank you’ and carried on. When Kieran returned home he decided to look a bit deeper into a problem that is continually stigmatized by society.
“I didn’t realise how easy it was to become homeless. I used to think that it was a person’s own fault if they ended up on the streets. People in our situation just assume the government will look after them if they fall homeless but the country owes you nothing, there are too many people who can’t find shelters, who don’t know about what they might be entitled to and many who do but are too scared to try to seek shelter.
“I though it would be a good idea to raise money for a charity that helped so I began doing a bit of research. Shelter was one of the first I came across. It seemed very reputable so I decided to go with them.”
Kieran will begin his 24-hour fund-raiser at noon on Monday, January 26th. He has so far raised £51 for the charity, setting himself a target of £100.
“I’m just going to walk around the streets, pack a few sandwiches and hand them out to anybody I see. It’ll be interesting to see what life is like on the streets for 24 hours. Every penny I raise will go straight to Shelter. Any amount donated will be greatly appreciated. As well as raising funds for the charity, hopefully it will raise a bit of awareness.”
Anybody wishing to donate can do so by logging onto www.justgiving.com/kieransnightout.