Thinking allowed — 06 July 2012
Hungry and homeless

When I did The Knowledge some years ago much of the time learning was spent on my bike in the evening.

It wasn’t long before I realised that there were hundreds of homeless people sleeping rough in London.

At night all over London there are dozens of charities providing at least one got meal to those unfortunate enough to not have a roof over their heads. In fact in Lincoln’s Inn Fields I have seen the queue for hot meals multiply by 10 times over the last 15 years.

So it is always reassuring to discover any new benefactors for our homeless.

But the Rector of a church in Mayfair has come up with an innovative solution which also benefits the cab trade.

St. George’s Church in Hanover Square has for many years given out small amounts of money to the homeless who sleep under the church’s portico at night.

As in many parts of London the numbers of rough sleepers and other disadvantaged people has been increasing, and often this money is spent on alcohol or drugs, rather than on food and drink.

The green Cabman’s shelter close by has had difficulties of late obscured as it is by the hoarding for ongoing construction work for Crossrail.

The solution has been that the Vestry has now started to issue “refreshment coupons” valued at £2 each, (facsimile above), which may be exchanged for food and drink at the shelter.

The proprietor’s of the shelter is given funds in advance, and she accepts the coupons in lieu of payment for the excellent value meals she sells.

Anyone who wishes to purchase refreshment coupons to give out themselves to local homeless and disadvantaged people on the street, (rather than giving out money directly) may do so by contacting St. George’s Church.

I, for one, think this an excellent initiative by the church and if anyone is passing this beautiful Georgian church they should take a look round.

Voucher reproduced by kind permission of the Rector of St. George’s Church, Hanover Square.

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Gibson

(3) Readers Comments

  1. A very good scheme indeed and I hope it continues to be a success for all concerned.

  2. That seems like a great idea to me – and you’re right about the numbers. Despite the fact that there are lot of charities out there, just look around late at night. There are people sleeping in doorways and down alleys all over the West End – it makes my heart sink. It would only take a few changes in circumstances for you or I to end of the street like that…

    • When you hear their stories, yes you realise we are all just a few steps away from sleeping on St. George’s steps

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