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Brighton artist’s exhibition to support homeless young people

30 October 2020

An exhibition and auction of paintings by a self-taught artist is set to support young people living at Sanctuary Supported Living’s Brighton and Hove Foyer.

Watch Tony Mills’ video telling the story behind Eight Miles Away:

Tony Mills, who only picked up a paintbrush in adulthood for the first time ten years ago, has created a stunning series of paintings each featuring a homeless person in different scenes of Brighton, as part of his Eight Miles Away project. Due to lockdown restrictions, the paintings are on show through the beachfront and west-facing windows of the British Airways i360 Viewing Tower in Brighton from 5 – 22 November 2020. 

All the paintings will be sold by an online silent auction, with the proceeds being donated to help young people experiencing homelessness.  

Tony’s original idea for Eight Miles Away came from painting a bus shelter opposite his home, where an elderly homeless man was sleeping for a year. He promised that any proceeds from the sale of the painting would go towards getting the man off the street. (Eight Miles Away refers to the lights of the wind farm, eight miles out in the sea behind where the man slept, which ironically generates warmth for over 400,000 homes).

48 hours after finishing the first painting, it was sold to a buyer in Australia and people all over the world started buying prints. The painting succeeded in opening doors for the man, so Tony kept painting. In the following two years, he had completed eight different paintings of Brighton – all featuring a homeless person. 

The remaining seven original paintings will all be auctioned and, together with sales of every single print, their funds will go directly to homeless young people in Brighton.

Tony said: “I am just a painter. I cannot solve all homelessness, but maybe I can help one person at a time? It means a lot to me to be working with Sanctuary Supported Living’s Brighton and Hove Foyer to directly support homeless young people in my city.”

Stephanie Smith, Local Service Manager at Brighton and Hove Foyer, said: “We are thrilled that Tony has chosen to support Brighton and Hove Foyer in this way. Every penny of the proceeds from the sale of Tony’s remarkable paintings and prints will go directly to helping young people who are ready to make that next step and move into their own home. We cannot wait to turn his vision for this project into a reality.”

It means a lot to me to be working with Sanctuary Supported Living’s Brighton and Hove Foyer to directly support homeless young people in my city.

Tony Mills, Painter

Located in the city centre, Brighton and Hove Foyer provides supported housing for 50 young people aged 16 to 25. The residents are encouraged to take control of their lives and build on their skills and strengths. Support is completely tailored to each young person’s needs, with the ultimate aim of helping them to move on and live independently within two years. 

Watch the video telling the story behind Eight Miles Away.

For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s homelessness services, visit our young people page, read residents’ stories or search for a young persons’ service near you.

Download a PDF version (145KB)of this story.

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