I just been into their website and the actual location (addresses of centres in London) is not stated. They seem to have enough volunteers (99% full at present). I shall send some donation. Every little helps.
Also on our homepage, '...Christmas presents for the homeless in Southwark'. Great timing. Hope to get some shopping and wrapping done this week before the Christmas rush. Having said all that, I may end up in the rush like previous years.
The Robes Project - www.robes.org.uk
I recently took part in a Sleep Out at Southwark Catherdral - below is my experience.
As the 2nd of December drew nearer, I was wondering what am I doing sleeping in a Cathedral Court yard, knowing that your never far from the furry things (I'll call them Rolandís), I must be nuts - missing a Family Birthday celebration at The Mandarin Oriental, no less.
So I arrived @ 19.15, rucksack with torch, Kindle, pack of cards, bottle of water & a large plastic poncho, carrying 5 flat cardboard boxes & sleeping bag. Wearing a thermal vest, fleece, ski jacket, jeans, and thermal socks & walking boots, ready for my night out in the open.
I thought I hit the jackpot, a park bench near an air vent. Bliss. So I set up my bed laying the boxes along the bench & leaving my sleeping bag still rolled up. Knowing my pitch was safe, I went to get some food. As luck would have it I found a fish & chip shop in Borough Market, so Cod & Chips it was & back to the cathedral to eat them. Delicious.
At 9pm, Jo Brand read Bedtime stories (half an hour of Fun & Laughter) got us all ready for the night ahead.
Outside I went, spits & spots of rain left me with very damp cardboard & damp sleeping bag. Not to give up I turned the cardboard over, unfurled my sleeping bag, took my boots off & got into my sleeping bag fully clothed. I could not take my ski jacket off - where would I have put it. Did I mention that it was steadily raining by this time!
I got out my Poncho and covered myself with it and all I could hear wee the rain drips hitting the plastic. After an hour of this, I decided that I would follow the other participants into the Cathedral to sleep on the hard wood floor. I do feel as though I didnít really experience a night in the open on our London Streets, but I slept for a couple of hours in Southwark Cathedral with about 120 others (the other 30 did brave the weather all night, but they came prepared with Camp beds and Survival Bags), it took me a while to get off to sleep on the hard wood floor (oh where were my home comforts). The crescendo of snorers was unbelievable and the music some people made with the rise and fall of the lungs & nasal passages was unreal Ė hats off to them. (Quiet soothing really)
All in all this was a humbling experience and we really donít know how lucky we are, that we have roofs over our heads and food in our tummyís & love in our hearts.
Take time to remember those less fortunate that ourselves and a big thank you again to all that sponsored me.
In 1949 my Mother had to leave her her house with 4 children because of my very violent mentally ill father. Society at that time made no effort to help people in that situation and the fact that Mum had to leave her husband just to be safe cut no ice with the limited authorities. We spent one night in a bombed house, the rats and bugs kept us company and piled old carpets on the floor and over us. I have never forgotten the bone chilling cold that permeated through even to my hair follicles!...and that was in summer..
We had no option but to return home to the inevitable violence and horror, but Mum thought it was worth it just to keep her children off the streets.
All those years since I have considerable sympathy for anyone homeless, no one chooses to sleep rough. My father how ever in later years even preferred the camaraderie of the rough sleepers, sitting around braziers filled with wood from bombed property and drinking cider, meths or what ever he could obtain!
Any one in that situation now would have a fair bit of trouble convincing the powers that be that lighting a fire near tower hill was not a terroist activity!