Jamie very kindly agreed to give up his Friday evening to join me for an interview in which he gives more details about the principles behind the charity Comedius and their plans for the future. Below are parts one and two of the interview. The other parts of the interview will be added to this site a few days later.
I first met Jamie Gratton a couple of months ago when I went into the Citizens Advice Bureau to see if I could do some volunteer work there. I was taken upstairs to the law centre, which is where I met Jamie. In fact I ended up sitting at the desk across from Jamie for a couple of days. Somehow it came up in conversation, Jamie’s other interests, which include his charitable work with the organisation Comedius. He told me they worked with homeless people and were planning a music programme for them. I found that fascinating. Jamie then told me that he had been homeless himself for a short time, and I was absolutely shocked. Looking at Jamie, with his poise and his accent, you would never have imagined that he had been homeless. But Jamie explained to me that being homeless is not the same as being on the streets. If you do not have your own means to support yourself and your family cannot support you, and you need to rely on strangers or friends to support you then you are homeless. Jamie also mentioned they are planning to set up a radio station, that sounds like a very exciting project.
Some artists involved in Comedius charity have got together to produce a music album that they have called ‘Buskers’. The CD is due to be launched by November 2009 and should be available from local music shops and other sources. For more details refer to the Comedius website (currently under construction).
Comedius evolved out of Roundabout. Roundabout was a self help group that started in a Derby night shelter. Now, the Roundabouts Trust UK is a partnership between the homeless community, Derby University, Derbyshire FA, Derby City Council, and members of the public. The trust works alongside other organisations, which have included The Quad, Velocity Sounds, Stone Soup Project, the Police, and Community Safety Partnership. Comedius is a social enterprise that be the trading arm of the Trust to give its members the opportunity to train and gain skills, and to be involved in projects that will raise finances not just for the charity itself but for other charities too. One example of this is a forthcoming fundraiser called ‘Acoustic Wok’. Acoustic Wok will be held on Monday night, date to be confirmed, but sometime near October 2009. The evening will include a famous compere, music throughout the evening and a buffet meal. Tickets will cost £14.00 per person. The money raised from the evening will be given to a local children’s charity.