Charities making homelessness a number one issue this Christmas

Crisis and The Amber Foundation have joined The Big Issue by releasing festive singles in their bid to take on Ed Sheeran and Beyonce for Christmas No 1. Shaun McGlashan finds out more

While pop titans Ed Sheeran and Beyonce, Ball and Boe, the mighty lamented Wham! – and of course The Big Issue’s Phil Ryan – are vying for Christmas Number One, now a charity that works with marginalised young people has entered the fray with a song recorded in a day.

The Amber Foundation, which helps 30 young people aged between 17 and 30 in a community, providing them with a temporary home that offers them the time, space, support and encouragement that is often vital in turning their lives around, enlisted businesspeople from across the UK to write, perform and release the song titled Christmas Isn’t Christmas.

The tune was created in just 450 minutes, with the musicians fittingly naming their band 4 FIVE ZERO to mark the achievement.

Dubbed a song without ego by the band, 4 Five Zero insist that their song shows a “drive to create music that makes an impact and creates a real difference in the world”.

Available now for a mere 99p, the housing charity The Amber Foundation will receive 48p of the proceeds to help develop their work with young people.


Since 1991 The Big Issue has sold more than 200,000,000 copies – helping the most vulnerable in society earn more than £115 million.

And this week homeless charity Crisis has announced that pop titan Annie Lennox is teaming up with folk icon Ralph McTell and the Crisis Choir – literally giving homeless people a voice this Christmas – to release a version of McTell’s hit Streets of London. The evergreen track has been covered by over 200 artist since its original release 50 years ago this festive season.

McTell said: “It’s 50 years since I wrote Streets of London and it saddens me that the issues raised in the song are still so relevant today. When the idea of a single to support Crisis was mooted, I was very pleased that it might help raise awareness of the charity’s work and the wider issue of homelessness. I have been performing a Christmas concert in aid of Crisis for a few years now; inspired by its commitment to improving the circumstances of so many.

“I was also thrilled that the wonderful Annie Lennox was prepared to lend her voice to a new recording, and when I discovered that Crisis had its own choir, it offered the perfect opportunity to create a new and exciting version of a song so many people know.”

The single can be downloaded for 99p here.

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With not less than three charity singles supporting organisations working with people in homelessness coming out this Christmas, not to mention Tom Chaplin’s Big Issue Busk last weekend, it shows just what a big issue homelessness has become this winter.

To buy 4 Five Zero’s song for The Amber Foundation, make a difference, and bless your ears all in one transaction, it is available on iTunes now for only 99p.

To buy The Big Issue’s entry into the race to be top of the pops this festive season, you can purchase Phil Ryan’s Walking Down This Lonely Street now for just 99p.

Main image: xmith xmith via Creative Commons with thanks

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