7 London Hotspots leading the fight against Homelessness (Longread)

by GoodTimes - London Staff

7 London Hotspots leading the fight against Homelessness (Longread)

7 London Hotspots leading the fight against Homelessness (Longread)

GoodTimes - London Staff
Pictures: Various
April 5, 2018

Beautiful brownies, gourmet meals, decadent cocktails, boutique furniture…. buy any of these things from the 7 places in this list and you will help homeless folks in London turn their lives around. 

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1. Dine in Style at Brigade

 

Brigade is the beautiful London Bridge Bistro giving chef training to Homeless Folks.

 

From the outside, on bustling Tooley Street, somewhere between the station and the ultra-modern More London complex, it looks like a typically polished central London spot. Under the hood, however, something truly wonderful is happening. For Brigade is a pioneer social enterprise restaurant, which helps homeless folks develop skills and motivation to find employment in hospitality. As they put it,

When you pay your bill, you help our apprentices transform their lives.

Brigade is the brainchild of Chef Simon Boyle. Having started as an apprentice aged 16 at The Savoy, Simon then worked for the legendary Anton Mosimann and became the first ever Culinary Ambassador for global giant Unilever. The fight against homelessness was his passion.

 

Roasted Scottish Salmon with Summer Ratatouille & Saffron Risotto! #recipeoftheday from our apprentices! #cooking #London #homelessness #chef #charity #cleaneating #protein #healthy #healthyeating #foodism #food #foodie #foodpic #foodstagram #yummy #delicious #nom

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The cocktails are fantastic, with an array of detox beauties they have just put on the menu.  And the food is straddles that line wonderfully between healthy and indulgent. Get a reservation and have a blast.

 

 

Mango parfait with macerated berries #foodstagram #foodism #foodie #Letsfeast #apprentices

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2. Pick up some gorgeous, boutique furniture at Restoration Station, Shoreditch

Restoration Station’s workshops help break the cycle of homelessness

Regular visitors to Shoreditch will no doubt have walked past this little studio hundreds of times without realising what treasures lay behind its unassuming entrance.

 

 

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Restoration Station is a furniture workshop making a big different to the lives of London’s most vulnerable residents.  On Thursdays and Fridays, they swing open their distressed wooden doors to sell a range of vintage wares – from antique furniture to quirky collectables – stunningly hand restored by people who are recovering from addictions.

 

Got a few weekend hours spare to help out in our Shoreditch shop? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with Katie@zetteler.co.uk and we can give you all the details. #RestorationStation #volunteers

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The raw materials are sourced from donations and carefully selected for quality – they’ll even send over a van if you’ve got something that fits the bill. And unlike most of the other stores in the area, they manage to keep the prices pretty reasonable without compromising on style and quality. For customers who want an extra personal touch, there’s also a bespoke service; bring in your old furniture and have it transformed it into something special.

Restoration Station is owned and operated by the brilliant Spitalfields Crypt Trust – a local addiction-recovery charity, offering everything from supported housing to work experience. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because they’re also the guys behind the delectable Paper and Cup cafe just around the corner.

 

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The workshop staff are all part of the charity’s life-changing training and personal development programme, The New Hanbury Project. Many students are welcomed into the Project straight from rehab and besides the vocational training, they can also receive regular counselling to support their recovery. Above all, many participants talk about the huge confidence boost they’ve received from working in the shop and interacting with customers. If you’re interested in reading more about the incredible recovery stories behind the charity’s work, the website is well worth a gander.

Restoration Station is located at 116-118 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JN. The workshop is open on Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

 

 

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3. This Supper Club helps London's Young Homeless beat the Benefits Trap

Had Joseph Heller written his famous novel Catch-22 today, he might well have based it on the British benefit system.

Take young homeless people, for example. Those living in temporary accommodation often find themselves in a self-defeating cycle: the only way to gather enough cash to move out is to get a job, but as soon as they start earning their housing benefit gets cut. The consequence? All their wages end up going towards hostel rent and there’s nothing left to save towards a rental deposit. And with affordable housing practically non-existent in London, it’s unsurprising that many young people get stuck in temporary accommodation for 6 years or more.

But while the original Catch-22 novel ends pretty miserably (sorry for the slight spoiler), in our parallel literary universe, there’s an unlikely hero to save the day.

Fat Macy’s is a social enterprise that recruits and trains homeless young Londoners to run supper clubs around the city. But here’s the ingenious twist: rather than taking people on as employees and causing them to fall foul of the benefit trap, Fat Macy’s is set-up as a volunteer training programme. Instead of a salary, it uses the profits earned from the supper clubs to pay into a rent-deposit scheme for the chefs, helping them save for a permanent place to live. With every pop-up event, each young person accumulates credit until they’ve earned enough for a deposit, which gets paid directly to a landlord.

This benefits trap beater is just one small part of the impact made by Fat Macy’s. Chefs who take part in the pop-ups are trained in vital skills for independent living: food hygiene, cooking, financial planning, curating and running events and practical work experience. The trainees themselves also get to flex their creative skills as the inspiration behind the menus – each individual brings new recipes to the table and adds their own flavours to the food they cook.

 

We’re at #GlobalSharingWeek with The People Who Share @somersethouse with our @fat_macys star server Emmanuel! A very inspiring bunch. #SocEnt #homecooked #babaganoush #mondaymotivation

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Don’t forget to keep an eye on Fat Macy’s website and Grub Club page for upcoming pop-ups. Fans of our Happy List events newsletter will have spotted their middle eastern feasts last week, so make sure you sign-up to our mailing list to stay in the loop on their latest events.

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4. Chillax at Charity Members' Club The House Of St Barnabas

How does this sound:  a secluded Soho garden, a gorgeous Victorian building, bubbles and brunch… And did we mention that it’s all for a great cause?

 

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That’s what you get at London’s first – and only – mission-driven members’ club, The House of St Barnabas.

When it comes to this Soho establishment, you need to forget everything you thought you knew about private members’ clubs… well, almost. OK, so the place does still ooze history and elegance like the best of them: a beautiful grade I listed building straight out of a Dickens novel (A Tale Of Two Cities anyone?), top notch food, masterful mixologists and inspiring events featuring world-class artists.

 

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But that’s where the similarities end. Far from a being a playground for stuffy elitist types, The House of St Barnabas (or HoSB for those in the know) is a registered charity and social enterprise where everything it does is guided by an inclusive social mission.

Woven into the running of the club is the Employment Academy for people affected by homelessness. Following a 12-week prep programme, participants get direct experience of working in the HoSB, as well as 12 months of on-going support, mentoring and accredited training in Hospitality or Business Administration. The Academy helps at least 100 people each year and most go onto get paid work within a month.

 

It’s week 3 of our current Employment Preparation Programme which means our participants are starting their work experience shifts in our not-for-profit club! #gettingworkready #breakingthecycleofhomelessness To find out more about our work visit: bit.ly/HoSBwork

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5. Grab A Long-Read And A Latte at Paper and Cup

There are two outposts of this social enterprise cafe, on in Bow and one in Shoreditch and the formula is simple: coffee, cake, a comfy chair, loads of books – and a twist. That twist is the cafe’s laser like focus on helping London’s homeless and otherwise abandoned.

 

The Cafe’s parent charity is Shoreditch Crypt Trust, which has been helping London’s homeless for more than half a century. As well as securing their impressive piles of books (including some surprisingly rare editions), new and second hand, from Londoners, Paper and Cup run a number of events focussed on homeless people including Homeless Book Club. Check out this write up from last year.

They also host a number of interesting exhibitions by local artists.

But ultimately, a great coffee place lives or dies by the quality of its coffee – and the decadence and deliciousness of its cakes. On the former, we suggest you try them out! On the latter: check out their Facebook page for a suitably seductive selection of scrumminess ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit courtesy of www.paperandcup.co.uk

 

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6. Hit up London's Best Music Venue, Union Chapel

Ok, so going to parties in church halls is probably something you thought you grew out of at 14. But get yourself down to a gig at Union Chapel in Islington and we bet you’ll change your mind.

This is one of London’s most spectacular music and event venues. The Grade 1-Listed, gothic architecture provides a truly impressive backdrop… it’s no surprise that some of the world’s most famous musicians come to play here (we’re talking Noel Gallagher, Elton John and the late Amy Winehouse among others).

But hosting big name artists is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this unique, not-for-profit space. You’ll also find all kinds of free, community and fundraising events on pretty much a daily basis.

The Daylight Music sessions deserve a special mention, hosting amazing musicians every Saturday.

And then there’s the The Margins Project – Union Chapel’s support centre for people facing homelessness, isolation or in crisis. The Project works with hundreds of vulnerable and disadvantaged people, providing everything from a winter shelter and regular drop-ins to a training programme at the on-site Margins Cafe. If you make it to a gig or event, don’t forget to grab some of the homemade food on offer – all proceeds help fund this great project.

There are lots of way to get more involved with the inspiring work of Union Chapel: volunteer, become a member, join the choir or simply donate to the cause. But if none of those float your boat, just turn up to a gig, grab some food and you’ll know that every penny is going to support one of London’s most iconic venues and all of its great work.

 

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7. Visit Rise Bakery - because brownies make the world better

Brick Lane’s Rise has a deliciously simple offer we think is too good to resist. Chocolate brownies delivered straight to your desk or door with a delightful twist… they’re all freshly baked by formerly homeless people turning their lives around.

Rise hires professional chefs to train, support and work alongside the ex-homeless. So not only is the product top-notch, but the trainees benefit from the best guidance in the business.

The 150-year old local charity Providence Row is the driving force behind the bakery – and it’s just one small part of the charity’s invaluable support services to East London’s homeless citizenspopulation. Besides baking brownies, there’s also a resource centre for rough sleepers, drug and alcohol recovery services and an urban garden providing a sanctuary away from the streets.

So if you’re looking for a guilt-free treat or a great gift idea for your gluttonous friends or family, you can’t go wrong with a box of Rise brownies. Get your fix here.

 

 

🎉Our new gluten free brownies looking great on their first ever public appearance 😎 #gf #glutenfree #glutenfreeuk #brownies #bakery #socialenterprise #homelessness #charity #buysocial #seuk #socent #dogood #gift #giftbox #corporategifting

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