The 2024 MYLONDON calendar campaign has resulted in quantifiable success in not only paying out thousands of pounds to more than 100 participants, but to keeping calendar sellers from sleeping rough in London.
We can't help everyone, especially if they are in extremely vulnerable situations, and there are many amazing charities doing that, including St Mungos, Crisis and Streets Kitchen, but we can help some in a direct way.
More calendars sold this year
This year there has been an increase in earnings from calendar and card sales for the homeless calendar sellers, with them earning more than £21,000 for themselves since the MYLONDON calendars were launched on 10 October, World Homeless Day.
The vendors, who are homeless or recently homeless, have already sold 75% of the MYLONDON calendars printed (we are not finished yet - selling until the end of February). They sold the calendars in the Spitalfields E1 Market or Elizabeth line train stations, and in office buildings run by NatWest, Landsec, Investigo, British Land and more, receiving 50% of the calendar sale price.
Smart phones for homeless bought with MYLONDON calendar income
The MYLONDON calendar sales also funded the purchase of smart phones for several vendors who did not already have mobile phones.
The selling of the calendars means vendors have to become familiar with the technology, as most sales are done by card payments.
With phones of their own, the vendors are now able to access more services because they now have a phone.
Online sales pay the printing bill
The remaining 25% of MYLONDON calendar sales were online. The calendar is printed following a 30-day pre-sale campaign from early August.
The first sales are crucial for the project as they fund the cost of printing the calendars and also fund the prize money for the photographers.
All online calendar and greetings cards sales are important to sustain Cafe Art which does not get government funding.
This project, which has a mission to not only connect people affected by homelessness with the wider community but to teach them entrepreneurial skills, has directly resulted in people who are homeless being able to get off the streets and into accommodation.
One example is Richard Fletcher who uses his calendar income to pre-book backpacker hostels around London. The rules for the backpacker hostels is that someone can't return for a few months - Richard moves every Sunday to a new hostel in a different part of London. Because he doesn't want to spend a lot more to stay in the hostels on Friday and Saturday nights he sleeps on the 24-hour London Underground trains on those nights, using his 60-Plus travel card to do so.
Richard turns 64 this month and we have introduced him to a hostel run by a local council so we hope he is able to be offered a place soon. (You can support Richard by using the promo code RF2024 if you buy a MYLONDON calendar online and 50% of the money will go to him). Richard uses his earnings from the sale of the calendars and cards to survive the summer before selling begins again in Elizabeth line stations, office buildings and Spitalfields E1 market in October.
Richard, who is a three-times top 25 winner of contest, was a judge this year, helping us choose the top 25 photos and later deciding on the calendar months.
Calendar sales help fund our weekly mentoring group
The Cafe Art RPS Photography Mentoring Group is one of the successes of MYLONDON.
The group, which is for people who have participated in MYLONDON, is run by volunteers from the RPS. They teach digital photography on weekend walks.
This is Judy Hicks from RPS London holding a programme featuring photos taken by members of the group. The exhibition was held in January but 13 of the photos will also be exhibited in Kahaila Cafe, 135 Brick Lane in the MYLONDON + MYMUMBAI exhibition from 1-31 March.
This year Cafe Art was able to give the group £400 from donations given by the public to us in Elizabeth line stations on World Homeless Day when we launched the 2024 calendar.
Prizes and commissions from MYLONDON calendar sales
MYLONDON calendar photographers also earn money from this social enterprise, funded by the sale of the calendars and cards.
Every year more than £2,000 is given our in prize money in October. This year more than £1,000 has been earned in commissions from the sale of photos and cards, online and in markets and train stations, since October.
Order MYLONDON calendars now
If you would like to support our project it's not too late to order your 2024 MYLONDON calendars and greetings cards!
We also have a wide selection of greetings cards which are £2.50 each, with a percentage going to each photographer.