We are very grateful to the Anglican Diocese of Southwark which has nominated Faith in Action as one of its Lent Call charities 2017, in memory of Revd Andrew Wakefield.
See the video about the Faith in Action Merton Homeless Drop-In on the Southwark website lentcall2017.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/i-was-hungry-i-was-thirsty-a-hunger-for-knowledge-as-well-as-food/
Several hundred people have used the Homeless Drop-In at least once in recent months, and there has been a surge of new service users.
We used to average about 65 per session, but one day in January there were 96. It’s now generally over 70 and sometimes over 80. Our volunteer cooking teams are wonderfully flexible about producing extra food.
We continue to work with service users to help them improve their situation. This involves 1:1 time with a member of staff so they can talk through their situation and possibilities for moving on. There is a Job Centre representative at the Drop-In every week too, along with the local Drug & Alcohol team and Homeless Outreach teams. The NHS mobile TB screening team visited on 1 February.
The Homeless Drop-In works closely with the Merton Winter Night Shelters. These provide a safe place to stay the night, a good meal, and intensive support in finding work and accommodation.
Here are some recent stories about our service users.
Paul is a driver who lost his job, and his landlord evicted him because he could not pay the rent. He was sleeping rough in Merton and visiting the Homeless Drop-In for some weeks before being referred to the Merton Winter Night Shelter. As a result of this support he has found somewhere to live and has had several offers of work.
Malcolm had left his flat in the West Country because he had been bullied there. He had been staying with friends in Merton, but they were no longer able to help him. He came to the Homeless Drop-In looking for advice as to how to get back. We helped him to go back home to his accommodation in the West Country, and to deal with the problems he faced. We paid his fare to get there too.
Anna had been homeless for some months. She had found a place in a hostel and was about to start work, but she didn’t have suitable clothes. From the many generous donations we receive, were able to equip her with two weeks’ worth of good clothes so that she could arrive at work looking smart and well-prepared.
Lunch for service users
A South-West London Nisa-Nashim group was started in 2016, and their first joint venture was cooking at the Faith in Action Homeless Drop-In.
Nisa-Nashim is an organisation which promotes ways in which Jewish and Muslim women can understand that their similarities are greater than their differences, through a range of shared initiatives that support their leadership journeys and encourage them to form meaningful personal relationships, while benefiting the wider society in which they live.
Thank you to the Lidl head office in Wimbledon, which has donated the proceeds of sales of samples to the staff.
Thank you to St Mary’s Merton for their latest support – see photo. See also their Parish Matters article.
Thank you to Eric Chau of Trinity United Reformed Church who is performing in their 1st April “Trinity’s Got Talent” show on behalf of Faith in Action. See Just Giving – Fooling Around in April.