While Christmas is more commonly known as the most wonderful time of the year, this is the dark reality of this time of year for Miles Freeman, a homeless man in Bournemouth.
A government snapshot in January 2014 found that there were 16 people sleeping rough on the streets of Bournemouth, what does Christmas Day hold for them? Mr Freeman, a local homeless man, told me that he sees Christmas as “the unhappiest day of the year.” He “had no idea” where he would be on Christmas Day and added that he “preferred not to think about it.” Mr Freeman has been homeless for the past three years and said that this is always the “part of the year he cannot wait to be over.”
Sylvia Freeman from YMCA Bournemouth, a local charity who help the homeless, informed me that Christmas Day at their shelter is “usually a fun affair” involving “a big Christmas lunch, crackers, and gifts from donations they have received.” When asked about this, Mr Freeman, 49, stated that shelters were “full of people in desperate situations who want to rob you.” This shows the level of cynicism which has been drilled into the homeless and is something we are not accustomed to thinking about on Christmas Day.
During the festive period it is only natural to get caught up in your usual Christmas routine and it is rare that people are thinking of those less fortunate. Mr Freeman argued that because of this “the meaning of Christmas has been lost.
“Everyone just treats Christmas like it’s their own birthday nowadays.”