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SIFA Fireside holds memorial service

 
March 10th 2011
 


On Wednesday 26 January, Birmingham-based charity SIFA Fireside held a service to remember 26 service users who died in 2010. Project worker Julie Ashford-Martin organised the ceremony at the Fireside building in Digbeth, and more than 30 staff and service users attended. It was run by Victoria Denning, a humanist celebrant, and was non-religious in order to respect the beliefs and spirituality of all those who died and of the friends who cared about them. The emotional occasion was a reminder of the importance and value of the lives of everyone, including those hidden from mainstream society. Music and poetry, some of it written by Fireside members, was used to remember the dead, and a symbolic candle was lit as the attendees took time to reflect on the lives of their friends.

The memorial service gave SIFA Fireside members an opportunity to come together and remember those who had died. Homeless people do not always have family funerals, and many service users are unable to attend them. The significant number of deaths meant that a group ceremony was an appropriate way for service users to pay their respects. The service also offered the chance for people to reflect on those people who died anonymously on the streets. As Julie Ashford-Martin pointed out: "Twenty-six is a lot of people and that's just from this one centre. These are only the people we know about - the actual figure may be much greater".

Bill West, a regular service user at SIFA Fireside, commented on the higher death rate: "It seems to have rocketed this year. It's not just drink and drugs - the cold probably had an influence on people's health, and the recession means that people are getting poorer. It's been a difficult year".

 
 
 

March 2011

 

Contents

From frumpy to funky: "Fab pads" launch nationwide with style

Government action needed to address youth homelessness rise

Public help bring empty homes back into service

Ethical caf?© gives homeless chance to make a change

Sleeping uneasy

Changes to Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau

SIFA Fireside holds memorial service

New service user led forum

Diamonds in the Rough art exhibition

Cannock church shelter discussions

Westminster plan ban

Update on Poncho?

Detail on the Hub

Second phone count

Winter shelters follow the pack

Funding nothing new

Ex-rough sleeper up for literary prize

Reading police seek help in murder

Tent city recognised in Seattle

HRH at Arlington hostel

Zulu council in London

Squats for rent?

Debut album with royal backing

Heroin drought

Homeless to Harvard

Street Shield 20: Home again!

 

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