Projects We Support
Streets of London funds projects where the money will make a real difference to the lives of homeless people in London.
There are many great charities across the capital that provide daily support to homeless people, but because only a few of them are well known, many struggle to secure the funding they need.
We fund specific projects at a number of these charities each year, targeting the money where it's needed most, so it will have the biggest possible impact.
Using our knowledge and experience of the sector, we identify projects where we believe the funding will make a real difference, providing homeless people with the support they need to get back on their feet and empowering them to make lasting changes in their lives.
In 2015-16, Streets of London made grants totalling more than £82,000 to eight amazing projects across London that support the city’s homeless.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters (including pop star Ellie Goulding), over the last two years we’ve provided more than £125,000 of vital funding to the homeless sector in London. Below is some information about the projects funded this year and the important work they do.
Margins Café Training Programme (£10,000 grant)
Those who have experienced homelessness can often struggle to find employment or work placements, but with support can develop the necessary skills and experience. The Margins Café Training Programme, based at Union Chapel in Islington, offers accredited training and ‘real world’, public-facing employment and skills development for people for those who have been homeless. Trainees learn a variety of catering skills, first at college then continue on to supported employment working in the Margins Café, cooking for and serving the gig-going public at Union Chapel concerts. Trainees receive intensive support with counselling and employment mentoring, and benefit from being part of a supportive community.
Acorn House Rehabilitation Hostel (£10,000 grant)
Those affected by addictions, such as to alcohol, drugs, or gambling, can find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty and exclusion. Not only have many of them lost their homes, families, and jobs, but their self-esteem, physical and mental health can be severely affected. A well-respected rehabilitation hostel with a low relapse rate, Spitalfields Crypt Trust’s Acorn House provides homeless men with a second chance in life, giving them a safe and supportive environment where they can stay and recover from their addictions. In addition to daily group therapy, they receive individual counselling with an experienced addiction counsellor, and each man takes part in training courses to re-build self-esteem and confidence, undertaking two or three courses in things such as literacy, cooking and gardening. They benefit from comprehensive advice and support to develop both their economic and personal well-being.
Night Centre (£10,000 grant)
Sleeping on the streets is a lonely and frightening situation to find yourself in. Rough sleepers very often encounter abuse and violence. It can also be very demoralising, resulting in low self-esteem and losing both the will and ability to care for yourself. The Connection at St Martin’s Night Centre meets the immediate needs of those sleeping rough, providing temporary shelter to those who are particularly vulnerable (the elderly, young people, people suffering from physical or mental health problems) while other options are found for them. It’s open every night, sleeping up to 40 people each night (and up to 70 during the cold winter months). People sleeping in the centre also benefit from a hot meal, use of shower and laundry facilities and one-to-one time with staff in a safe, supportive and warm environment. It also acts as a gateway to a wide range of specialist services, for those experiencing additional problems such as addictions or mental health issues.
Mental Health Support (£10,000 grant)
Research suggests that about 40% of people sleeping rough have mental health problems. These people are around 50% more likely to have spent more than a year sleeping rough than those without a mental health need. Those suffering mental health issues and living on the streets are not only very vulnerable but also often quite marginalised. Left unaddressed, mental health problems can make it nearly impossible for them to find any stability in their lives. West London Day Centre’s specialist mental health work ensures that clients are properly assessed, identifying any issues so that people can be given the support they need, whether at the centre or through referrals to other agencies. They are also helped into appropriate accommodation. This support can have a hugely positive impact on the person’s life, getting them the help they need and allowing them to escape the damaging effects of life on the street.
Gardening & Catering Training Programme (£7,500 grant)
Employment and training services are vital in helping homeless people make lasting changes in their lives. The Gardening and Catering Scheme at Providence Row provides trainees with the opportunity to develop practical skills and gain certified qualifications in food hygiene and horticulture, as well as support into further volunteering, training, work placements or employment. Trainees taking part in the gardening scheme (run from Providence Row’s roof-top garden) help to grow produce for the kitchen to use, while catering trainees help to produce 30-50 meals daily for rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people using the centre. The trainees also receive one-to-one support and can access a range of advice and services to help address the underlying causes of their homelessness.
English Language Tuition (£10,000 grant)
Language and communication skills are an essential part of helping those who have experienced homelessness improve their employability and integration into society. At Shelter from the Storm, a shelter in Islington, guests can receive one-to-one support to improve their spoken and written language, enhancing their chances of finding employment or volunteer placements, as well as helping them develop meaningful relationships and reducing feelings of social isolation.
Immigration Support (£8,250 grant)
More than a tenth of those sleeping rough in London are from non-EU countries, but cuts to legal aid for immigration cases mean that they are often left with no access to advice. Many have limited English and minimal understanding of their rights, leaving them very vulnerable and with no way of establishing their status. The immigration caseworker at Glass Door Homeless Charity offers free advice and guidance to those with no access to public funds, developing a relationship with each client in order to help them establish their immigration status and find a way off the street. Clients also have access to a variety of other support services.
Women into Work Project (£16,500 grant)
Most homeless people want to work, but they often face a number of barriers. Low confidence can be a major hurdle for many to overcome, as can language barriers, having the right skills, experience and qualifications, lacking clothes to attend interviews and travel to get to them. A safe and supportive environment for homeless women (research indicates that in up to 40% of cases, domestic violence is a factor in women becoming homeless), The Marylebone Project’s Women into Work programme provides women who have been homeless with support and encouragement to help overcome these barriers and get back into work. Support available includes: one-to-one mentoring; help with writing a CV; finding a volunteer placement or course; help with on-line job searches, writing covering letters; in-house IT, Literacy and ESOL (English) courses; catering training; clothes for interview. Work is one of the key routes out of homelessness, providing not only much needed income but also a form of social support as well as confidence and empowerment. Securing a job can have a transformative effect on a person’s life, allowing them to leave homelessness behind for good.
Thank you to our supporters, without whose generosity none of this would be possible.
With the right support, people who have experienced homelessness can turn their lives around. The issues they face are often complex, but attention to their individual situations and needs can make all the difference in helping them move off the streets and move on with their lives. It’s vital that they are able to access specialist services. Streets of London aims to ensure that those services have they funding they need to be there in the time of crisis, so that homeless people have the support they need to get back on their feet and leave the streets behind for good.
If you’d like to support our work helping London’s homeless, please click HERE to make a donation today. Thank you!