A BUSKING Bromsgrove bobby will receive a prestigious Point of Light award by the Prime Minister for his inspirational work helping the homeless.
PC Ian Northcott will be presented with the accolade by town MP and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Sajid Javid at a celebration being held today (Friday) at the Holiday Inn, Kidderminster Road.
Ian has been recognised for founding the charity Socks and Chocs for the Homeless and for devoting his spare time to encourage people to donate socks, hats, gloves, sleeping bags and chocolate to make life more comfortable for those living on the streets.
The project is dedicated to helping homeless people in Birmingham, Worcester, Wolverhampton and Coventry all-year-round, especially on Christmas Day.
The charity was Ian’s own idea and was unconnected to his work as a police officer. However, his efforts have contributed to breaking down barriers and improving relations between homeless people and the police.
Ian is also well-known as the busking bobby – he first earned the alias when he was on duty and began chatting to a busker before grabbing his guitar and giving an impromptu performance of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’.
A crowd quickly gathered and the filmed piece was later uploaded to YouTube, where it went viral and has been viewed more than 750,000 times.
Ian is now using his singing talents to help raise awareness of the charity and donations for Birmingham’s homeless.
His appeal has been far-reaching, with pledges coming in from as far afield as Japan and Turkey. He has even inspired people across UK to start running their own Socks and Chocs branches.
Ian said he was very honoured to receive the award and added: “The ethos behind Socks and Chocs is lots of people doing a little bit, not a few doing a lot.
“This result has shown what can be achieved when people pull together.
“It’s not about money – it’s about dry socks on feet and sleeping bags keeping people warm.”
David Cameron said: “Ian has shown just how much can be achieved by taking the initiative and encouraging more people to help others in their community.
“Through his singing he has inspired people at home and abroad and helped many homeless people to get some much-needed basic comforts like socks, chocolates and sleeping bags.
“I am delighted to be recognising the ‘Busking bobby’ as a Point of Light.”