Each year, Restart Lives brings together staff, volunteers and supporters to raise awareness about the tough conditions faced by rough sleepers and to raise funds for the vital support the charity provides. This year, on 1st December, we invite you to join us from 10pm to sleep outside St Columbas church in Knightsbridge for one night before sharing a breakfast together in the church hall. Raise funds from colleagues, friends and family in the run up and help us to run programmes, offer one to one advice and support and provide resources to help those most in need.
There were 271,000 households recorded as homeless in England at the start of 2023, and with the cost of living affecting everyone, that number looks set to rise.
It’s not just the lack of a home that affects those who experience homelessness, there are many serious related issues that act as serious barriers to individuals making positive progress with their lives. For example, 41% of homeless men and women are struggling with a long term physical health issues, while 45% have a diagnosed mental health condition, and it’s thought there will be many more not represented in those figures. Over 50% of those who are homeless are not at a basic level of literacy, and that’s one of the reasons that navigating welfare and housing systems as well as other support opportunities can be really difficult for those in need.
Restart lives supports London’s homeless whether they need help to sleep outside more safely, or whether they are ready to contemplate making big positive changes in their lives. For rough sleepers, there are resources like sleeping bags, hot meals, takeaway food, warm spaces, phones, sim cards, and advice and support. There are wellbeing groups: one to one or group sessions with experts from our mental health partners, Mind, football skills sessions weekly with the provision of the right clothes and kit, women’s only fitness and talking spaces, with travel covered for those who want to take part. There are employability workshops and courses to share knowledge and skills, make CVs, practice interviews and apply for roles. There are advice and support drop ins at partner organisations, such as the jobcentre.
All the work that we do is made possible by those that give their time and donations. The sleepout is a great way to support, whe ther that’s with your presence, a donation, or spreading the word to others who can join in. We hope you’ll take part and join us in working to break the cycle of homelessness.