Ken Loach

Ken Loach has been Doorway's patron since 1997. 

He spoke eloquently and passionately about homelessness at our 10 anniversary event in June 2007 in discussion with Anthony Lawton, Chief Executive of Centrepoint. In conversation the issues of hidden homelessness were raised and the audience learned that just because they don’t see people sleeping in doorways doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem. A young person sleeping on a friend’s settee or floor because they have nowhere to go is as homeless as a rough sleeper.

In 2016 he won the coveted Palm D’Or award for a second time with a film called “I Daniel Blake”, which takes on the benefit system. The film exposes the welfare system in the UK.

Ken had visited Doorway in 2015 with his screen writer Paul Laverty to undertake research before making the film. He travelled around the area with Paul a Doorway Support Worker and talked to various young people regarding their day to day struggles. One of Doorway’s young people is named in the credits at the end of the film. 

Before the screening he was interviewed and asked “Where did you start your research?”

Ken said I’d always wanted to do something in my home town which is Nuneaton in the middle of the Midlands, and so Paul Laverty and I went and met people there. I’m a little involved with a charity called Doorway, which is run by a friend Carol Gallagher. She introduced Paul and me to a whole range of people who were unable to find work for various reasons – not enough jobs being the obvious one. Some were working for agencies on insecure wages and had nowhere to live. One was a very nice young lad who took us to his room in a shared house helped by ‘Doorway’. Paul asked him would it be rude to see what he’d got in the fridge. He said, “No” and he opened the door: there was nothing, there wasn’t milk, there wasn’t a biscuit, there wasn’t anything. This is just straight hunger and he was desperate. He’d got a friend who was working for an agency. His friend had been told by the agency at five o’clock one morning to get to a warehouse at six o’clock. He had no transport, but he got there somehow, he was told to wait, and at quarter past six he was told, ‘Well there’s no work for you today.” He was sent back so he got no money. This constant humiliation and insecurity is something we refer to in the film”