Love For The Streets
932. Jonah Ogbuneke
Jonah Ogbuneke, from Manchester, is an innovative campaigner inspiring students to volunteer their skills for creative events to tackle rough sleeping in the city.
As the founder of ‘Love For The Streets’, Jonah has mobilised over 150 students to volunteer with local homeless charities using social media and putting on a series of art exhibitions, workshops, conferences and club nights. ‘Love For The Streets’ inspired students to volunteer their skills to create the charity events and to run the campaign on social media. It then partnered with local charities to create engaging volunteering opportunities for students to do more frontline work through its volunteer recruitment strategy. This involved partnering with local charities to identify where they needed volunteers for a current programme or co-create programmes aimed at tackling homelessness, engaging and teaching students about the realities of homelessness, and creating an online community of students who care about poverty and homelessness to encourage long-term volunteering.
These events were also used to directly support local projects helping rough sleepers and tackling poverty, with funds being raised for the ‘Big Change Fund’ and 875kg of food being collected for ‘Manchester Central Foodbank’. Jonah’s ambition is for ‘Love For The Streets’ to change perceptions of volunteering and for volunteering to become a greater part of the student experience. Jonah was also the President of Manchester Student Union’s ‘Big Change Society’ which encourages students to get involved in working to end homelessness in the long-term, rather than replicating services already available.
In a personal letter to Jonah, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“By launching ‘Love For the Streets’ you are inspiring students to give their time to tackle homelessness in an engaging and creative way. That hundreds of students have begun volunteering as a result of your campaign is testament to your dedication to this important cause.”
“It is such a great honour to be receiving this award! This year, the whole of the ‘Love For The Streets’ team have worked tirelessly to find innovative ways of engaging students on the issue of homelessness and mobilising them to support the incredible work of the charities in Manchester. I could not be prouder of the entire team and all that we’ve accomplished!”
Watch Jonah talk about receiving his Points of Light award: