'Our mission to feed alarming number of homeless'
- Credit: London Homeless Welfare Team
From heatwaves to storms and now pandemics, a grassroots voluntary organisation has been helping the homeless through thick and thin.
Jorawar Singh Ratour has been heading up the London Homeless Welfare Team with a group of six friends. They started serving on New Year’s Day, 2020, after team members noticed an “alarming” number of rough sleepers in Finsbury Park.
After a rollercoaster 18 months, the team has established itself as a recognised and respected charity that has now helped hundreds and earned the thanks of businesses and local health groups.
Jorawar, who has been homeless himself, has the ambition for nobody to go without food or shelter.
The team’s ambition to help “a few people” quickly became more than fifty as they began serving hot drinks, soup and food which had all been donated – mostly from Tesco and Poundland.
Jorawar said: “We put in funds ourselves and it has been doing well. We started getting a lot of donations and went from strength to strength. We started in Finsbury Park but we started doing outreach around Haringey, Islington and Hackney.
“If someone is in need, we can get to them within the hour, while other services might take a couple of days.”
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The group responded quickly to coronavirus concerns, providing sanitisers, masks and bottles of water.
Having now spoken to many homeless people, Jorawar said they are more aware of the concerns on the street and have adapted their operation to start handing out toiletries and sanitary products.
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They have also linked with local NHS groups and mental health services, while national charities have been in touch.
Jorawar said hundreds of people have now been helped by their work and their influence has inspired many to support them financially, by volunteering, and by following their progress on Facebook – with their page now gathering 750-plus ‘likes’.
“It has been a big deal for everyone,” he said. “We have had some amazing experiences. Now we are reaching out more and going to the homeless, rather than waiting for them to come to us.”
The team is now needing your support to continue their service. For more information, visit londonhomelesswelfareteam.com