Michael Sheen has given £10,000 to an arts organisation that works with homeless people around the world.
David Tovey, Arts & Homelessness International’s creative producer said he was “so happy” he “could cry” after the Hollywood star, who hails from Port Talbot, responded to a crowdfunding appeal.
Sheen revealed his donation on Twitter where he urged others to help them reach their £20,000 target, with £16,685 already raised.
The group’s finances have been hit hard by the pandemic which has had a catastrophic effect on fundraising.
They said on Twitter: “COVID has been devastating including for small charities like us @artshomelessint. Despite being in high demand & garnering government accolades, we need your help. We’ve just launched a Crowdfunder for our leadership progs for creatives who are homeless.”
Clearly moved by the post Sheen said: “I’ve just given £10,000 to this brilliant, ambitious project. If you want to see change happen and, like me, you are fortunate enough to make good money, then stop talking about it, step up and help orgs like @artshomelessint ‘Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.’ #stepup.”
The news was given an emotional welcome by David Tovey, the organisation’s creative producer, a former homeless artist, educator and activist.
He said on Twitter: “The amazing @MichaelSheen has donated £10,000 for our project. I’m so happy I could cry. This will be live (sic) changing for so many people. Thank you. If anyone else can donate, every penny will make a difference. Or share with your networks.”
‘Not just about housing’
The charity said on its crowdfunding page: “Homelessness is not just about housing, and research shows that arts and creativity builds mental and physical well-being, agency and resilience so that people can thrive not just survive.
“We bring positive change to people, projects and policy in homelessness around the world through creativity.”
Earlier this month, Sheen launched his own creative arts scheme to help people from working class and under-represented communities in the UK to break into the industry.
He wants to get more people from more diverse backgrounds into the media industry.
A Writing Chance is a UK-wide project designed to discover new talent and support new writers trying to break into the creative industries.
Sheen said: “As I’ve got older, I’ve realised more and more that it wasn’t just luck or chance, or as much as I would like to think, my talent, that led me to have the opportunities that I’ve had.
“I come from a working class background in Port Talbot, a steel town, and you know, my family, going back generations are working class and I’ve seen that the opportunities that I’ve had and the pathway I had have kind of disappeared over time as I’ve got older as various things get cut and the money’s not there, schools are not doing this or that.
“And so I started to feel more and more really that I had the opportunity and the desire to try and make sure that people could have at least the same opportunities I had, let alone expanding it out to people who didn’t have the kind of good fortune that I had who come from areas like me.
“So I was already feeling like that and I think during the pandemic it’s made those inequalities and those unfairnesses even more extreme. And so it gave a bit more urgency I think to the idea to get behind something and starting something up.”