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Getting to know: Our Charity Partners, StreetSmart

For the month of December we will be partnering with StreetSmart for their yearly fundraising to fight homelessness.

With December being a month to eat out and be merry we all want to take the time to give back and help those who don’t have the safety and comfort of somewhere to call home at Christmas. Every time you dine with us a discretionary donation will be added to the bill which will go to StreetSmart to help them tackle the issues.

Ahead of the partnership we caught up with StreetSmart’s Director, Glenn Pougnet, who kindly answered a few questions about StreetSmart and homelessness.

What are the ways in which you help people?

StreetSmart supports over 50 projects that tackle homelessness. This includes providing emergency food and shelter during the winter months for rough sleepers. It includes providing rehabilitation and mental health support for those suffering from addiction and poor mental health. It includes education and training for those ready to move back into work. StreetSmart currently uses half the funds it raises to provide homes for young people faced with homelessness. We wanted to try and address the lack of suitable homes for young people in need so we work with partners to create supported accommodation to prevent 18-24 year olds falling into the trap of long term homelessness.


What are the leading causes of homelessness?

It starts with an individual suffering a crisis – relationship breakdown, redundancy, bereavement, mental illness, domestic abuse or a combination of events that forces someone to leave or lose their home. 60% of young homeless people say it’s due to relationship breakdowns at home. Once alone and vulnerable, the slide into a vicious downward spiral is inevitable and traumatic, bringing with it a state of hopelessness most of us have never experienced. From these depths it is hard to remember or imagine life as the rest of us know it, let alone engage positively with society.

How has homelessness changed in the last few years in the UK?

We have seen a rise in working homeless people – some shelters are seeing 50% of those they provide care for are actually already in work. During the height of the pandemic many people in low paid jobs were furloughed and there was a ban on landlords evicting tenants. Both these have now ended forcing many onto the streets or sofa surfing or staying in overcrowded accommodation. And local councils are reporting that this winter the numbers are set to increase.

Are there any misconceptions about homelessness you would like people to be aware of?

No one chooses to be homeless and it can happen to anyone. I’ve met bankers, architects, police officers who have become homeless due to little fault of their own. Many of us are lucky enough to have the safety net of friends and family who would step in to help but that doesn’t apply to all and it’s not indefinite so it’s easier than you imagine to fall quickly into crisis.

How long has StreetSmart been helping people for?

Streetsmart started 22 years ago when it pioneered the £1 per table fundraising model at participating restaurants during the busy build up to Christmas. It has raised over £10.5million pounds since and this year 521 restaurant are taking part. Streetsmart has a sponsor who cover the charities costs ensuring that 100% of the funds raised goes to support those in need. D&D London have supported since 1999 and have raised over £500,000 for the cause. All funds raised at a particular restaurant goes to support people in the city where the funds are raised whether that’s the funds raised at 20 Stories used to help rough sleepers in Manchester or the funds raised at Klosterhaus providing accommodation for young people in Bristol. Even in London we give back locally so the funds raised at Haugen will support homeless people in the East End of London.

 

 

Support StreetSmart’s exemplary efforts to combat UK homelessness and help us to raise funds£ by booking a table at any of our restaurants and donating a discretionary £1 or 2, which will be added to your bill throughout December.