Bid to make city the ‘Kindness Capital’

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LJMU student Nathan Selby and Councillor Stephanie Till © Twitter

LJMU student Nathan Selby and Councillor Stephanie Till © Twitter

A student from LJMU and a local councillor have teamed up to spread kindness across the city, in a bid to make 2013 Liverpool’s Capital of Kindness year.

With the city regularly scoring highly in the top ten friendliest cities, people from Liverpool are renowned for their charitable donations and helping each other out in a community.

JMU law student Nathan Selby and Croxteth ward councillor Stephanie Till are on a mission to get the people of Liverpool to shout about their generous acts of kindness that are carried out every day.

Nathan told JMU Journalism: “The concept is very simple – we ask that people in Liverpool tweet when they have committed an act of kindness, or when they have received one.

“We then retweet that and encourage more people to commit acts of kindness.

“Within a week, we were able to gain a large number of followers and have received quite a few tweets from individuals, letting us know what they’re up to.

“We’ve also posted a few blogs to encourage and inspire others to be kind.”

The Random Acts of Kindness campaign hopes to make Liverpool this year ’s Capital of Kindness by encouraging others to do one random act of kindness, whether it is big or small.

The 22-year-old law student told JMU Journalism: “We want more people to be spontaneous and commit random acts of kindness of their own – they don’t have to be big, expensive or time-consuming.

“The smallest of acts are often the ones that make the most difference.

“Whether it’s holding the door open for someone, buying coffee or cake for a colleague who isn’t feeling too great or volunteering for a charity.

“Any act makes a big difference and if we all pull together, we can make Liverpool an even better – kinder – place.”

The campaign has already acknowledged the kindness of a support worker for her passion of helping young people with disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds.

Claire Caddick is planning on rehousing homeless teenagers into her home which she has rented with the support of a local church.

Random Acts of Kindness campaign

Random Acts of Kindness campaign

She told JMU Journalism: “The college mainly takes on people who are homeless, have no secondary education or qualifications and were kicked out of school and referred to us.

“Young people weekly come in and say they were kicked out on Friday. I had a thought that I need to do something about this.”

With 84% of the teenagers attending the college not living in their parental home, there is often not enough adequate housing for homeless teenagers.

Claire told JMU Journalism: “One homeless student was from a domestic violence background where she and her mum were getting hit by her dad.

“There was overcrowding in the home with eight to nine people in three rooms.

“She was tidying the house when she got back from college to put her dad in a good mood when he returned from work, so he wouldn’t be stressed and turn violent.

“She didn’t want to live with a man and the nearest match to her was away from the college and there was a male over 18 living there, so it wasn’t perfect for her.”

The 28-year-old support worker took it upon herself to rent a house 30 seconds away from the College, where three selected students will be able to live.

She believes it will encourage people to be placed in education, where they can learn social skills, enrol on a course and even learn how to eat on budget.

Claire added: “I want it to be a home. A really homely environment, I don’t want it to look like a children’s home.

“I want it to be my home and they live with me as a part of family unit. Just because they’re homeless doesn’t mean they have to settle for not even second best, but third or fourth best.

“Why do they have to settle for that?

“There’s that saying that beggers can’t be choosers, but why not set out of our comfort zones a little bit and see if we can set up something perfect?”

Nathan said: “She already has the house in which they will stay, but she had nothing to go inside. No furniture, no carpets, nothing.

“She got in touch with us and we posted a blog about it, encouraging people to read it, share it and consider donating items if they could.

“Within 24 hours, Claire told us she had secured most of the stuff she needed.

“All of the furniture was sorted through Bulky Bobs, locals had dropped off towels and linen and a local company had dropped off a large amount of paint so they could decorate.

“This just proved that when Liverpool pulls together, we can achieve anything. The house that Random acts of Kindness in Liverpool built is one to be proud of.”

The idea behind the campaign was inspired by the kindness that was witnessed in reply to the Keep Warm Collective that Stephanie had organised in December, asking women in Merseyside to donate coats and winter accessories.

Stephanie told JMU Journalism: “Liverpool is like no other city, it’s almost as if we survive alone and don’t need anybody else.

“The warmth and kindness that you receive from Scousers is second to none.

“People always comment that people in Liverpool are so much more friendly than anywhere else.

“It’s probably why we’ve become such a popular tourist attraction, and why so many people choose to spend time here.”

About Hannah Ashraf, JMU Journalism