Night shelters to give food and warmth to homeless over Christmas

Volunteer Tom Curtis prepares a meal for guests at the shelter. Photograph: Nick Curtis

Volunteer Tom Curtis prepares a meal for guests at the shelter. Photograph: Nick Curtis

Snuggled up in a comfy sofa, bathed in the warmth of a crackling fire (or even just a two-bar electric heater), it’s hard to imagine what it might be like to spend Christmas on the streets.

Yet even the least religious amongst us often find our minds wandering that way this time of year, thinking about what we can do to help those who have fallen on hard times.

Hackney has a number of homelessness groups that do just that, and they need your support more than ever.

Throughout the winter, the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, a Shoreditch-based charity that has been working with those affected by homelessness and addiction for 50 years, will be serving up hot food and drinks.

The charity has put out an urgent appeal for sleeping bags for its drop-in visitors: “It doesn’t matter what state they’re in, we just need to get some”, said Gary, the Trust’s drop-in manager.

They are also in especial need of non-perishable foodstuffs, as well as packs of new men’s underwear, new pairs of socks, winter jackets, trainers and toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving kits, shampoo and shower gel).

Another established homelessness organisation is the Hackney Winter Night Shelter, which has provided hot meals and wintertime beds since 1993.

The shelter, run by charity Hackney Doorways, makes sure that each winter night a Church in the borough opens its doors to approximately 25 guests, giving them a place to stay and something to eat.

This year they started welcoming guests on 3 November and will remain open till 1 April. HWNS staff also work with their guests throughout the year to find them permanent accommodation.

Regular donations are the best way to help the HWNS serve the needs of people in need. You can also join the shelter’s team of over 750 volunteers (for details see the ‘volunteers’ link on the HWNS website).

So please do what your budget allows; even if you can only afford to give a small amount, you will make Christmas so much better for someone in Hackney.


Spitalfields Crypt Trust:


To donate by mobile, text SCTG11 £2/£5/£10 to 70070


Hackney Winter Night Shelter:


To donate by mobile, text HWNS02 £2/£5/10 to 70070