3,673 people slept rough at some point in London during 2009/10, an increase of 6% on the previous year’s total of 3,472 and of more than a thousand since 2005/06.
“The Whitechapel Mission is dedicated to providing a lifeline to people of London who struggle each day against homelessness, hunger poverty and exclusion.
Our goal is to help people to help themselves, giving them the confidence they need to become independent, which we do through practical support and advice and by teaching them the life skills they need to succeed.
We believe everyone deserves a chance, regardless of their background, race or religion.
We believe in keeping promises, which we use to guide our work, 365 days of the year.
· We promise our service users that we will provide a warm and welcome place for them to come, built on trust, belonging and understanding.
· We promise our colleagues and volunteers that we will give them a safe environment for them to work in and a real opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of the people they serve.
· And we promise our supporters that every penny they give us will always go directly to services and to support our service users.
We know that we can, and are, making a positive and lasting difference to the homeless to ask for our help.
This mission is delivered by a dedicated team of full time professionals and volunteers. However, the Whitechapel Mission remains dependent on groups of volunteers to allow the permanent staff time off.
A small team from Holy Trinity in Cookham has been providing such support for some 15 years, firstly to supplement the efforts of the congregation at the Cookham Methodist chapel, but for many years as a team in their own right. On one Sunday morning each month, four hardy volunteers arrive at the mission in the Whitechapel Road at 6.00 am and start preparing a hearty breakfast for 100 or so needy customers. The menu would do credit to a luxury hotel, providing a comprehensive range of food to meet a wide variety of tastes and cultures.
For those Holy Trinity volunteers who have been going to Whitechapel over the years, there has been a marked change in the people using the service, with more immigrants, particularly now from Eastern Europe. But certain constants remain – some 20% of all users are ex servicemen, unable to cope with the return to civilian life, alcohol and drug dependency are often the reasons for failure to cope with the world, and volunteering is a worthwhile, valuable and valued act of Christian service.
If you feel that you would like to make a contribution to this important act of Christian witness, please contact: Bernadette Clark on 01628 530047 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was the Holy Trinity team that went to Whitechapel Mission on Sunday, 24th June.
From the left: Charles Brown-Findlay; Chrissie and Jim Rosenthal; Mike Clark.