The number of homeless individuals over the past 3 years in the UK has increased by a shocking 73%, with figures showing that on any one given night in Autumn last year, 4,500 were sleeping rough. This figure has more then doubled since 2010.
Worrying numbers no?
But how can you support this often neglected community, and give individuals a chance to get back on their feet? There are now many simple and easy ways that you can make a difference individuals affected by homelessness. Whether it’s volunteering, donating, or purchasing goods from social enterprises, you’re not going to be stuck for options.
Here we list some of our favourite initiatives that you can get involved with.
- Buy a Coffee from Change Please
A coffee brand unlike any other is their tagline. Change Please is a social enterprise that is staffed by the homeless, providing coffee that doesn’t just taste good, but also does good.
Change Please provides help to the homeless community by training individuals to become baristas. The jobs they offer pay London Living Wage and they also provide support for housing, bank accounts and mental wellbeing.
Where can you buy one of these great coffees? Well there are carts in 5 locations across London (Borough Market, Canary Wharf, Christ Church Southwark, Here East and the Shard). You’ll also find their carts cropping up at festivals across the country including Lovebox and The Brit Awards.
Not willing to travel that far? Well Change Please coffee is now also available in Sainsbury’s stores, so there’s no excuse.
- Volunteer for Crisis
Crisis is the national charity for homeless people. They help people directly out of homelessness and campaign for the changes needed to solve it altogether.
This is a seriously impressive charity, and the numbers speak for themselves. Last year alone they helped over 11,000 individuals out of homelessness, while 1,400 of their members progressed to external education or a paid job.
Crisis’ goal is to end homelessness in the UK. That means:
- No one sleeping rough.
- No one forced to live in transient or dangerous accommodation such as tents squats and non-residential buildings
- No one living in emergency accommodation such as shelters and hostels without a plan for rapid rehousing into affordable, secure and decent accommodation
- No one homeless as a result of leaving a state institution such as prison or the care system
- Everyone at immediate risk of homelessness gets the help they need that prevents it happening
Interested in helping them achieve their goal? You can volunteer your time and help Crisis by speaking with members and guests, helping out in their shops, and through campaigning and fundraising.
- Give a Breakfast in a Bag
Breakfast in a Bag is a social enterprise that provides free, healthy breakfasts to London’s homeless community. It is funded through public donations with additional but vital support from food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.
While the content of each breakfast bag varies, the bag will always provide a healthy and nutritional breakfast that includes anything from cereal or porridge, to fresh fruit, cereal bars and fruit juices.
Their “Sponsor A Bag for £3” campaign” is one we whole heartedly support and think is a great initiative. You can donate to Breakfast in a Bag on their website.
- Donate Furniture to Lighthouse Furniture
Lighthouse Furniture passes reusable furniture, which might otherwise be thrown out, to those in need. Since they started around 20 years ago they have helped support over 8500 families/individuals, and have reused over 2000 tonnes of furniture. That’s the equivalent of over 40,000 sofas!
They support the homeless community by selling the items that have been donated to them, to the general public at one price and to those on income based benefits at a lower price. This allows them to cover their costs, but still leaves enough surplus items to support those in real need by giving them furniture and other essential items for free.
- Host a Dinner
Choose a date, select a charity, and invite your friends. It’s as simple as that.
Dinner4Good is a website that lets you host a dinner, and then donate the funds raised through that dinner to the charity of your choice. The website supports over 100 homeless charities so you can support a national initiative, or something a little closer to your heart.
All in all this means that you can have a great meal with your mates, knowing that it’s for a good cause. Having fun has never been so satisfying.
- Start a conversation
It’s a quite often asked question. “How can I start up a conversation with someone sleeping rough”?
The simplest answer? Treat them how you’d like to be treated.
Often passers-by don’t like to face up to the reality of the problem or don’t think there’s anything they can do. Simply starting up a conversation can mean the difference between a good and bad day for someone sleeping rough. Giving them the time of day to have a conversation, and not just ignoring them, can go a long way.
- Buy a T-Shirt!
At Hopeful Traders we’re a social enterprise that looks to support the homeless community by collaborating with artists affected by homelessness and giving a voice to all the people affected by these issues.
Profits from all our sales are divided between the individuals we work with and charitable organisations that they have chosen. This allows our collaborators to give back to organisations that may have supported them.
We ship our clothes and products across the UK and even internationally, so have a look around our website, pick a Hopeful Traders T-Shirt, and choose your next look.