The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire was in town this week visiting Banbury Young Homelessness Project (BYHP) to discover more about the charity’s homelessness prevention work.
Richard Venables stopped by last week meeting with Patrick Vercoe, CEO of BYHP and Simon Smith, finance director.
Mr Venables said: “I’d been signposted to BYHP by many people who were saying if you are going to Banbury it’s an organisation you need to make a beeline for.
“Also my theme for the year is youth and specifically the youth in our deprived communities and mental health awareness.”
Mr Venables, a chartered accountant from Oxford, is particularly interested in the hidden aspect of homelessness.
Mr Venables said: “I’m really cognizant of the issues we have around homelessness and not just the homelessness you can see on the streets but it’s the invisible homeless, the sofa surfers.”
Mr Smith added: “People go to Oxford because they perceive the streets are paved with gold with lots of rich people who will give them money.
“The homeless population in Banbury has always been a local population which means they don’t particularly want their school mates walking past and pointing them out.”
BYHP targets 14 to 25-year-olds with homelessness preventative measures such as family mediation available.
To find out more visit www.byhp.org.uk.