January/February 2021 Update

We have had another couple of busy months at Crisis Skylight Birmingham. While the country has been in another lockdown, we have continued to deliver services to our members.

We have a packed learning programme covering essential skills, arts and personal wellbeing. Our progression coaches and work and learning coaches have worked hard to support our members out of homelessness.

Below is a little taster of what we have been up to.


Danielle, the visual arts tutor at Crisis Skylight Birmingham has been running a digital photography course. Members are encouraged to explore the world around them and take photographs on their mobile phones.

Three members who are currently taking this course have kindly shared with us some of their work and what they enjoy about it.

“I enjoy the photography Course at Crisis. It gives me a focus each week and helps me to look at things differently. I also love seeing what the other guys offer up. It inspires me to try something new each week. Plus, I'm learning how to improve my photos. It's good. I like it…’’

-Kieran, Crisis Member



‘’I love the photography course as it is helping me to improve and learn new creative skills. I love to capture moments through photography especially whilst out walking. I feel like Photography is a way to take us anywhere just like when reading a story from a book…’’

- Asim, Crisis Member


"Taking on the photography course gave me a different way of looking at my surroundings and appreciate the beauty behind every new window opened through photography..."

- Richard, Crisis Member


Staff Update

Ruhail Rana, was appointed as Skylight Director of Crisis Skylight Coventry and Warwickshire just before Christmas, so, at the start of February, Crisis Skylight Birmingham welcomed Sarah Gallagher, the new Learning Manager.

As part of this update, we asked her to introduce herself…

Sarah Gallagher
Learning Manager, Crisis Skylight Birmingham

Hi Everyone

I joined Crisis on 1st February 2021 as a Learning Manager. Before joining Crisis I had worked for Anawim Women’s Centre as a Service Manager for almost 10 years!

During my time at Anawim I managed a variety of teams such as Mental Health, Domestic and Sexual Violence, Criminal Justice, Family Support and Prison and Outreach.

Joining Crisis and starting a new role during lockdown has been a challenge, but everyone has been so helpful that 3 weeks in and after many, many, many zoom meetings, I am starting to know who everyone is and what they do!

In my role as Learning Manager, I hope to work with my team and members to be able to continue to offer a responsive fantastic learning offer at Birmingham Skylight and hopefully over the next few months when restrictions start easing, we can develop this even further.

In my spare time I have been actively involved in fundraising for Birmingham Women’s Hospital’s neonatal ward through running, walking and hosting a variety of events. I am also looking forward in getting involved in any fundraising activities for Crisis.

LGBTQ+ History Month

February is LGBTQ+ history month:

🌈 25% of young people who are homeless identify as LGBTQ+

🌈 77% of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness is caused by family rejection or abuse

🌈 Young LGBTQ+ people who are homeless are more likely to face violence but less likely to seek help

"Recently I joined a Crisis session on Zoom to make keyrings for LGBTQ+ History Month.  Crisis sent a pack with everything needed and we all made some during the session. It was great fun and I'm sure everyone enjoyed it. I certainly did." 

Jeff, Crisis Member

At the end of February, Crisis Skylight Birmingham along with the skylights in Newcastle and Coventry celebrated with our LGBTQ+ member network.

During the session our members decorated their own key chains, discussing important topics and took part in an LGBTQ+ Quiz.


#HealthNow is a UK wide campaign, working towards an inclusive health system where everyone has access to the health care they need; ultimately moving people out of homelessness.

Frances Schofield is the #HealthNow Coordinator for the partnership between Groundswell and Crisis in Birmingham

On 25 February 2021, the #HealthNow alliance met to discuss the findings of recent peer research findings around health and homelessness.

The alliance is made up of homelessness organisations and representatives from various health agencies.


We were delighted to welcome Dr Justin Varney from the Department of Public Health.

The stake holders discussed ways to address health inequalities for people experiencing homelessness based on the results of our local #HealthNow peer research


We have spent the afternoon co-producing actions with peers & stakeholders that need to happen to make changes happen & who needs to act. These will form part of the action plan that will be reviewed regularly so we can hold people to account locally.

- Rachel Brennan, #HealthNow Network Coordinator