On Monday 16 Dec, OCO staff in partnership with Lambeth’s housing team set up stalls in Southwyck House Community Centre, handing out supplies to residents who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or vulnerable. A warm drink, food and friendly chat were also on offer.
“In the last couple of years we’ve walked the streets of London with rucksacks containing things like hand warmers, warm clothes, toothpaste and toiletries, fleece blankets, sweets and biscuits, handing them out for people sleeping rough,” says Tegan Marsh, OCO Procurement manager and volunteer. “When speaking to Lionel from Lambeth’s Housing Support Team he reminded us we can help other vulnerable people – i.e. families on Universal Credit and people forced to choose at this time of year between eating and heating. With his help we found this central collection point in Lambeth for this event.”
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Paul Gadsby, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We sadly see more and more people finding themselves on the streets as a result of a national housing crisis and the pressures many face financially. I have been out with Lambeth’s safer streets team and seen first-hand the terrible conditions some of our most vulnerable residents have to cope with. But I have also seen the tremendous hard work and kindness of council staff, volunteers and homeless professionals to help those in need. Events like these at Southwyck House are part of this community effort, and I would like to thank all the staff and members of the public who were involved. We have just agreed a new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy that commits Lambeth to continue to spend £4 million a year on services to these vulnerable groups, including a rough sleeping team out day and night providing help and more than 500 beds for rough sleepers. We’ll continue to do all we can to fight this terrible crisis.”
John Moore, Director of OCO, said: “We’ve supported and attended big events across all London boroughs with the Back to Kindness charity and wanted to give more to the communities we work closely with. We set up a JustGiving page and we were all surprised how many donations we got. Anything left after this today we will store for a future event in early 2020 – Brixton Soup Kitchen who attended today have already offered help.”
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