Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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PINT talk

June 01 2024
Volunteers on outreach © PINT Volunteers on outreach © PINT

An interview with Cee Star, founder of People in Need Today, a charity delivering outreach services to people experiencing homelessness in London. Interview by Sophie Dianne

People in Need Today (PINT) was established 18 years ago at grassroots level. Since this time the organisation has gained charity status. It now has an army of dedicated volunteers, working at outreach projects seven days a week across London.

In February, I interviewed PINT’s founder Cee Star. I began by asking him how the organisation started. And what his motivation was:
I started my career in the music business and got very successful. I’ve worked with some big names and won awards. But I could see what was going on around me. Kids from local council estates were getting involved with gangs. Some as young as 12 or 13. These kids were vulnerable, coming from broken homes, often neglected by families. They didn’t want social services involved so they were either sleeping rough or staying with gang members. I was saving food from music events and giving it to the kids. I wanted to do more. To give them something else to focus on and keep them out of trouble. So, I started mentoring them. I got them doing workshops in my recording studio.

How did PINT evolve from this?
PINT stands for People in Need Today. Regardless of your ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender or age, if you’re vulnerable for whatever reason, we want to help you. At some point in our lives, we all need help. We are accessible seven days a week, running a variety of outreach projects. Currently we provide food for up to 150 homeless people, give support to vulnerable families and collect donations of clothes, sanitary products and surplus food. We just want to improve lives and mental stability.

What would you say is the most important part of PINT’s work?
All our work comes for the heart, we like to build strong relationships with the community and the individuals we help. It’s all about befriending and providing consistency. And that comes from keeping those roots. I met a 73-year-old woman who felt safer on the streets than in a hostel. She said her clothes would get stolen and she was physically hurt. It’s absolutely disgusting.

What would you say are the biggest challenges to ending homelessness in the UK?
They’re in a trap. People find themselves in a vicious cycle and it is difficult to find a way out. Often rough sleepers become institutionalised by their circumstances. The cost of living crisis has just made things worse. Even when people are able to get off the streets, landlords are providing dodgy properties with awful conditions. These houses and flats should be vetted. It’s disgraceful.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of people becoming homeless?
We’ve met lots of refugees and I particularly remember a family who put their kids into care and started living in a tent. They were working over-time so they could save money for a new home. That’s one of the reasons our family outreach is so important. At the weekend we drop off food parcels to families who desperately need it. It’s like a prevention method. In modern day England, it shouldn’t be like this.

Going forward then, what are PINT’s plans for the future?
I’d like to take a step back and let the volunteers take over. Until that time. I want to create more exposure for PINT and continue to increase our outreach.
Details on PINT outreach services can be found in the List in the centre pages of the magazine. Follow PINT on Instagram @pintgiving