Candlelit Vigil 2020

Join the national moment of reflection to remember those who lost their lives whilst homeless.

Candlelit Vigil 2020

Join the national moment of reflection to remember those who lost their lives whilst homeless.

A home is a fundamental human need, the foundation on which we can all build our lives and the basis for strong communities.

Across the country, there are still too many people without access to a safe, secure, affordable home and what’s worse, hundreds are dying whilst homeless every year.

Following the release of the homelessness death statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at 9:30am on 14 December, and in memory of those who lost their lives whilst homeless, Shelter will be facilitating an online candlelit vigil. We’d love for you to join us that evening, in a national moment of reflection.

Key info:

The candlelit vigil will be at 7pm on 14 December and will be hosted on our YouTube channel.

It will include:

  • speeches and readings from key community members and faith leaders across Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and London

  • stories from those who have first-hand experience of homelessness

  • a collective moment of reflection and lighting of candles for those lost to homelessness

Candlelit Vigil 2020

Hold your own vigil using our online Toolkit

We know that loss of life is a very personal issue. Throughout this year the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has meant that not only have more people lost loved ones, but it’s been harder to come together to commemorate the lives that have been lost.
We’ve put together a helpful toolkit to make holding your own vigil an event that’s simple, special and most importantly, meaningful to you.

The following examples should give you some initial inspiration for organising your own vigil, including how you can get support from us.

Doorstep vigil

A person holding a candle outside.


Make some simple flyers asking your neighbours to join a socially distanced doorstep vigil.

You could offer to hand out candles and agree to meet on your doorsteps, or at the window, to light a candle and discuss the issue of homelessness in your city and if you feel comfortable, your relationship to the issue.

Raise a virtual toast

A woman raising a toast virtually using a laptop.


Bring your colleagues together and raise a virtual toast to honour those who died whilst homeless.

At last year’s vigil, lots of organisations took part who work directly with people affected by homelessness on what we call ‘the front line’. Finding a way to bring your team together to reflect is important not only to mark the loss of life, but for creating space to process and support each other to carry on this vital work.

Turn your facemask into a statement of solidarity

A person customising a facemask.


Use your facemask to stand with those who have lost loved ones to homelessness. This is a good option for those who are isolating or are living in areas where lockdown tiering is high.

If you can arrange to do this with a group of friends, you could join a Zoom call and take a photo together, sending a clear message that no one should die homeless.

Raise your voice with a banner drop

A banner drop in Dublin, Ireland. The banner slogan reads 'Bridges not walls'.


If you’re keen to make an impact, a banner drop is a great way to raise awareness and make a statement at the same time.

Join the conversation

Whatever you end up doing – we want to hear about it. Take a photo of how you’re getting involved and post about it online, using the hashtag #ShineALight

We’ll also be using #ShineALight throughout the day to talk about what we’re doing and to share online content ahead of the main event.

Contact us


If you have any questions about either holding your own vigil or how to join the national vigil, we’d love to hear from you. Email Campaign@shelter.org.uk

Stay safe: If you’re planning to hold an event in person, it’s important that you look up the latest guidance on social distancing for your area because they may change at short notice. The ideas we’ve provided should only be considered if you’re able to organise them in a safe, responsible way and in line with the latest government restrictions.