'It's so rewarding to see strangers come together and make something happen' - Barrington mum starts nationwide Musicians Against Homelessness project from her kitchen table
PUBLISHED: 08:35 01 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:36 01 September 2016
A mum from Barrington has founded a project organising more than 100 charity concerts up and down the country to support homeless people - and it all started at her kitchen table.
Emma Rule has volunteered for homeless charity Crisis over the past five Christmases and told the Crow about a stand-out experience that inspired her to start the Musicians Against Homelessness project.
“One night I was sat outside with a man who wouldn’t speak or come inside the Crisis centre,” she said.
“The only thing he would say to me was that he couldn’t live anymore and he wouldn’t be here by next Christmas.
“I sat with him for three hours, then I put my hand on his shoulder and he broke down in tears.
“He told me what happened to him in his childhood. It was the most horrific thing I had heard, and he said because of what happened he was terrified to go to sleep in other people’s company.”
After this breakthrough, the man did go inside where he saw a doctor and a counsellor and when Emma saw a video of him again some time later, his life was completely different.
“He found hope and I found hope in this project – everything that has happened was inspired by him and the other people me and my husband Martin have volunteered with,” said Emma.
In March, after speaking with former Oasis manager Alan McGee – who she had met previously in her PR role – Emma put a plea out on social networking site Facebook to see if anyone would be interested in planning a gig.
Emma said: “Alan told me that before he found Oasis he was homeless for a short time in London, and said that if I could do something to help, he’d really like to get involved, and become a patron, which was amazing!
“Loads of bands and helpers got in contact. Those helpers who initially came forward are now regional managers – it’s got that big.
“They really are incredible people, the project couldn’t work without their huge input and commitment.”
More than 600 bands from Britain and abroad are now lined up for 120 independently organised and promoted concerts crammed into the next two weeks around the UK – and it all kicks off in Meldreth on Saturday, with regional manager Richard Trueman, from Melbourn, at the helm.
“It’s been a lot of planning, but we have 20 bands, craft stalls, a bouncy castle, zorbing, a bar and a barbecue – there’s something for everyone,” said Richard, a musician and promoter from Your PartyUK.
“I think it’s a fantastic project to help the homeless and promote new bands, and it’s taken some doing, but now we just need people to come along and enjoy the day.”
Emma said: “We’d like to thank Richard for putting this huge event on and all of the bands, artists and entertainers involved.”
Looking to the future, Emma is hoping the concerts will continue annually.
The mum-of-two has given up starting her own PR company, and instead works as a community carer for two hours each morning to keep her afloat.
She puts all her time and energy into the project, as well as continuing her volunteer centre work with Crisis.
“What is most rewarding is seeing how strangers can come together and make something happen with no money whatsoever, there is so much kindness out there,” she said.
“I hope if we can build on connections year on year and it gets bigger and bigger it can continue. We’ve had offers of stages at festivals. I can’t believe how big it’s got and what we’ve achieved, and that it all started at my kitchen table.”
The music starts at Eternit Sports and Social Club in Whaddon Road, Meldreth, at 1pm and will go on until late. Tickets are £12 for a single, £20 for a pair, and accompanied children under 13 get in free.
For more information on the project search ‘Musicians Against Homelessness’ on Facebook.
For more on Crisis, or to volunteer go to www.crisis.org.uk