Don’t Panic and Shelter Put On a Brave Face

Don’t Panic and Shelter Put On a Brave Face
Published: November 04, 2022

The housing and homelessness charity Shelter and social purpose creative agency Don’t Panic put on a “Brave Face” to remind us that thousands of children will have to do the same this Christmas.

“No child should have to put on a brave face, but without a home, over 119,500 do.”

Don’t Panic and Shelter’s sobering message puts thousands of children without a home this winter in the spotlight and portrays the reality of homelessness from a child’s perspective.

The one-minute ad follows young Jayden as he overcomes day-to-day challenges and failures by putting on a brave face.

His day is no different from any other child’s. From dealing with a low score on his homework to failing as a goalkeeper, he keeps his brave face on. The most heartbreaking scene comes at the very beginning of the ad, where Jayden practices his brave face preemptively.

The end of his day is, unfortunately, much different from that of his peers.

As he and his mother arrive at temporary housing, they’re greeted by a cacophony of arguments from other families residing there and a single bed for the two of them. As Jayden’s mother tells him that’s where they’ll be spending their Christmas, he puts on the bravest face of them all.

Rick Dodd, Don’t Panic’s creative partner, explained that honesty was central to the process, especially in the depiction of temporary accommodation.

“We didn’t want to exaggerate or inflate a single element of his reality,” said Dodd. “From the corridor and the stressed neighbors to the sole bed that child and parent would have to share. Every detail was fact-checked to ensure it was as real a depiction as possible. Having spent an afternoon shooting in this location, I can honestly say how heartbreaking and devastating it is that anyone, especially a child, will be spending a Christmas in such a place.”

With inflation on the rise, we can only expect to see more children in situations like this one.

“With many families hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis, the country is experiencing a housing emergency with homelessness on the rise,” said Claire Whitney, head of supporter acquisition at Shelter. “Life in temporary accommodation is full of uncertainty and anxiety.”

She also comments on the lives of families in temporary housing:

“Families are commonly moved from one accommodation to another with very little notice, with children’s lives and education regularly disrupted and no place to really call home. Yet despite this, day after day we see the resilience of parents, teenagers, and young children. This is what we’re depicting in this film.”

Let’s hope ads such as these open people’s eyes to the struggles of those less fortunate and inspire all to look around ourselves more often.

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