Most tourist information won’t tell you about homelessness in London, in many cases that’s understandable. It can a difficult subject to get a handle on and may simply not be of interest to many people making a weekend trip for some sight seeing. However we think to truly get to know a city means understanding a little of all aspects of it, which is why we want to share some information on the topic.
Nearly 7,500 people sleep rough on the streets of London every year (streets of London, 2000) by comparison an estimated 19 million tourists visited the city (Office for National Statistics, 2016) spending around £10 billion per year and making London easily one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
Londoners love nothing more than welcoming others into the city and helping them get to know it. It’s always been a big part of the cities culture. Of course, we reckon the time and money spent by tourists here is well placed going into unique cultural events, sites and activities that can often be found nowhere else on earth. However as with everything there’s always a little room for improvement.
Learning a little about London’s less talked about topics can provide a unique insight and lend itself to new experiences. Away from Tusseud’s and Coca Cola’s London Eye, there are corners and pockets of the city far less visited and far less talked about.
The city has developed some great initiatives including a positive top down approach from the Mayor of London’s Office, as well as many private and voluntary based organisations.
However homelessness can be a very personal issue, so where possible it can make a big difference to remember that when trying to help out. There are a lot of ways you can help those who are currently out of accommodation, from small gestures to volunteering you time.
It can often be tricky to know which are the most effective or appreciated, especially in a new places so below we’ve included some organisations and other suggestions for ways you might like to help:
Savoury snack or a hot/cold drink: there are a lot of potential issues and conversations about how best to donate people who are currently having trouble finding accommodation, but regardless of any of those everyone always appreciates a friendly tea or coffee and a quick chat.
Clean Socks: probably the most sought after thing you can easily donate to anyone who’s currently out of accommodation. Especially in winter months, but really at any time of year - any traveler knows the value and comfort of a fresh clean pair of socks.
The Pavement: an online and paper magazine aimed at providing information regarding awareness of homelessness, and also a vital source of information and resource reference for those who find themselves on the street. www.thepavement.org.uk
The Big Issue: a well known international magazine, which provides people who in vulnerable situations with an opportunity to work as a retailer and continue creating a source of regular income. You’ll likely see vendors as you explore the city, even if you can’t make a purchase - the vendors are usually very happy to chat, and often have some great insights into life in London. Along with current interviews the magazine also occasionally features events and information on things happening around the city. https://www.bigissue.org.ukTap London offers an easy resource for Londoners and visitors alike to make quick one-off donations to help homelessness in the city. www.taplondon.org
St Martins in the field: as well as one of London’s oldest landmarks, this church located just beside Trafalgar Square has been helping London’s vulnerable for many generations. Through their registered charity; The Connection St. Martin’s help provide immediate relief and long term support for those in need of housing, work and social assistance. The Crypt Cafe - a favourite spot in central - also donates a percent of certain products toward their work with homelessness).
Unseen Tours: offer tours employing vulnerably housed individuals as local guides. Helping use inside knowledge of London’s locations to provide unique insights into the capitals streets. www.sockmobevents.org.uk
If you’re interested in helping the friends and family of The Horse & Stables make a difference to homelessness in London, take a look at Ace of Clubs current fundraiser. All money will go to first hand assistance from one of our favourite local charities here in south London.
To donate online to their current fundraiser simply
For more about the charity and their work head over to: http://aceofclubs.org.uk
As the saying goes; charity begins at home. If you considered or would like to help efforts to aid homelessness here in London - we’d like to thank you personally, but we also recognise that sometimes people want to help those closest to home. For that reason we encourage you to seek out projects not only here in London, back home and elsewhere along your travels. There’s often small things you can do to make a big difference to others.
If the topic is something you’d like to learn more about, below is a list of some additional sites and recommended reading you may find helpful.
Links to other organisations doing great work in London & elsewhere: