New homeless outreach group launches in Finsbury Park in response to homeless crisis
PUBLISHED: 13:38 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 06 January 2020
Members of a new homeless outreach group launched in response to Finsbury Park's rough sleeper problem were "humbled" after a successful first food drive on New Year's Day.
London Homeless Welfare Team was set up by Jorawar "Jay" Singh Rathour of Crouch End. He felt the need to act after seeing so many people bedded down under the Stroud Green Road bridge on his way to and from Finsbury Park station each day.
"I'm seeing more and more homeless people," said Jay, who has been homeless himself in the past. "London's homeless crisis has reached an all time high. We are a wealthy country yet we have a homelessness epidemic! We decided to take action."
After calling on friends and neighbours to volunteer, Jay went around businesses in the area asking for surplus food and other goods, particularly sanitary products.
"A lot of the homeless people in Finsbury Park are women," Jay continued. "I went around asking them what sort of things they needed and they said they got bread and food but what they didn't have was sanitary towels.
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"We are very grateful to Tesco, Sainsbury's, Poundland, Weston Park Bakery, Food Hall, the Crouch End Appreciation Society and Rowans bowling whose generosity was amazing."
The group set up stall outside the station, near the bridge, and gave out soup, tea, chocolate and other products.
"It was a very humbling experience and we received a lot of praise for which we are extremely grateful for," said Jay, who thanked his volunteers Harsharan Kaur, Gursharan Singh, Samita Kaur and Simran Kaur and Myles Francis.
The group goes by the motto: "Let's beat hunger together". The plan is to hold monthly stalls outside the station and eventually become a registered charity. Until then the project is being funded by the group itself, and relying on the good will of businesses.
Jay added: "We also hope to liaise with the council to discuss what we can do to help not just with food and drinks but also with addiction and mental well being by referring them to local organisations that can help.
"I was homeless for a while so I know what it's like to feel isolated and vulnerable."
For more information about the group visit the Facebook page.