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Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Second year Geography students learn about experiences of homelessness



‘Geographies of homelessness’ is a key topic within the second year module GEO2028 Issues in Human Geography. We had already spent some time reading, researching and debating about homelessness… But actually meeting people with first-hand experiences was a very different, eye-opening experience.

On Monday 10th November, second year Human Geographers met two guest speakers with first-hand experiences of working with homeless people:


  • Sarah Passam – Day Centre manager at the Hope Centre: a leading source of support for homeless people in Northamptonshire;
  • Brian Hinton – a final year Geographer who is currently conducting dissertation research with homeless young people in Worcestershire.


Across a really interesting Q&A session we heard about:


  • some of the significant everyday challenges and risks encountered by local homeless people (including some upsetting facts about mortality rates and violence against homeless people);
  • impacts of drug and alcohol misuse, including some emerging issues associated with ‘illegal highs’;
  • experiences of young homeless people;
  • limitations of official statistics about homelessness (according to Local Authority data there are ‘15’ homeless people in Northampton… but the Hope Centre is used by 140+ people each day, and has 10,000 people on its books!)



Sarah Passam receives donations from some of the students


Human Geography students and staff brought in donations of food and clothing to be used by Hope Centre users. In an excellent display of generosity, more than 100 items were donated to the Centre. A number of students have also expressed interest in volunteering at the Centre in future.

Geography staff and students donated food and clothing to the Hope Centre


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