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The Pavement is ringing the changes this year, as our founding editor Richard Burdett stands down and the organisation takes on a new interim director to help guide its future.
Burdett co-founded The Pavement in 2005 when he was working at St Martin-in-the-Fields day centre and became concerned about how little information homeless people were being given about the decisions taken by authorities that would effect their lives. In particular, he was concerned about Westminster Council's plan to move towards building-based services without adequate consultation with the homeless people on the streets.
Along with a then-Guardian journalist Nick Taylor and others, he bagged a £1000 donation from a publishing house and started up the A4 freesheet containing news and views from the street, cartoons donated by Private Eye cartoonists, and advice and features from health and legal experts.
"I helped set up The Pavement when I was working at St Martin's, because, with a few friends , we thought there was a lot of unreported news on the street – both what was happening to people and what political decisions were being made about their lives,” he said.
“It was a struggle to get going, as it's not a commercial venture. I stepped down because I left London, and with a young family hadn't the time to give it the attention it needs.
"However, I've no regrets and am convinced those stepping up have the skills to ensure it operates at a higher level whilst keeping true to its ethos."
The Pavement still runs on a shoestring budget, is staffed almost entirely by volunteers and is fiercely independent. About 10,000 free copies are circulated to cities across the UK. In London, Birmingham and Edinburgh it is distributed for free by Fareshare and in Glasgow homeless charity Emmaus does the deliveries on a voluntary basis to day centres and drop-ins.
New interim executive director William Butler, who has worked in housing, social care, addiction and mental health charities, said his aim was to help readers get more involved in the direction of the magazine. “I’m passionate about our focus on supporting readers to deal both with their day-to-day challenges, and to contribute to enabling them to guide their own futures,” added. “Consequently, I want us to be able to extend our reach to more homeless people and to do more to involve you in determining our priorities, for example through readers panels and creating opportunities to share your experiences and voices about what matters to you.”
To find out if we can deliver The Pavement to your day centre or drop-in, contact email@example.com