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Emotive Shelter film shows mother and daughter forced to live in their car at Christmas

London-based creative agency Don’t Panic has collaborated with homelessness and housing charity Shelter in an emotive spot highlighting that many people will be spending Christmas without a place to stay this year.

In the film, viewers see the relationship between a mother and daughter, who are driving in their car on a winter evening. In a lighthearted moment, the mum begins to joyfully sing Wham’s festive hit Last Christmas to her teenager after discovering that their car radio doesn’t work. It also quickly becomes apparent that the bags in the back seat are not gifts, but in fact the duo’s belongings.

Just as the mother is about to give up on a Christmas sing-a-long with her daughter, there’s a warm moment between them as the teen joins in with the catchy tune and presents her mother with a small present.

As the car pulls up, it’s revealed that they are both spending Christmas in their vehicle, parked in a lonely, cold car park.

“A run-down hostel where you have to share a kitchen and bathroom with strangers is not a home. Nor is a cramped cold car in the corner of an empty car park. This film is a powerful testimony to the resilience of the people we help, who are dealing with the trauma of homelessness and hoping for a brighter future,” said Andy Harris, director of fundraising at Shelter.

“Our frontline services are working hard to be there for people facing homelessness, and we hope the public will be inspired to donate what they can this Christmas to help us carry on this vital work.”

Shelter estimates that hundreds of thousands of people will be spending Christmas without a home and most of those people will be trapped in temporary accommodation, sofa-surfing or forced to sleep rough.

“We wanted to counter the traditional ‘us and them’ narratives you see so regularly in this space, and in doing so create a shift in power toward the people Shelter is here to help. We heard and read the stories of some people experiencing homelessness to ensure we came up with an idea that captured the raw reality of what it’s like to be homeless this Christmas,” added Rick Dodds, creative partner at Don’t Panic.

“For us, it was all about humanizing the issue of homelessness, making it relevant and in some way relatable, building an emotional scene that truly resonates.”

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