How we Helped Crisis at Christmas

In December – just as we’ve done for the past few years – we opened our King’s Cross Centre to homeless people in London. In collaboration with the national charity Crisis, we turned our building into a place of refuge, safety and warmth for them, as one of the Crisis at Christmas London centres.

Crisis have been in touch to thank us for our support and we thought it would be nice to share their letter – it includes information about how many homeless people the centres supported and some of the things that Crisis do to help their guests over the Christmas holiday.

Together with your support and that of 12,696 volunteers, we welcomed more than 5,254 people to our centres across Britain. Crisis at Christmas in London welcomed 4,030 guests this year, this is a 12% increase from last year, with 11,672 volunteers attending shifts during the event.

You helped us to provide much needed health checks, food, shelter and specialist advice and to bring the centres to life with dance competitions, bingo and piano sing-a-longs that boosted confidence, giving people the breathing space and hope to rebuild their lives.

In London on Christmas day 1,634 of our guests were served 5,625 meals (1,760 breakfasts, 1,972 lunches and 1,893 dinners. As of the 28th December we had served 37,201 meals.

From 23 – 28 December, guests had had access to doctors, nurses and pharmacists via the Healthcare clinics – the numbers are:
– Healthcare: 558
– Podiatry: 320
– Physio: 160
– Massage: 367

Here are the stats for the eye care team:
– Number of eye tests carried out: 302
– Number of specs ordered: 232
– Ready readers given: 102
– Number of referrals made: 32

The new year is now underway and it’s great to have personally seen guests visiting our year-round centres (Skylights). At our Skylight centres across the country we will offer a full package of housing and employment support, as well as education and training. Your support will continue to give hope to people who are homeless – and provide access to a route out of homelessness for good. 

We couldn’t do any of this without you – again thank you so much for your support this Christmas.

Hope starts with all of us and together we will end homelessness.

Crisis also sent a small thank you video, showcasing their work over the Christmas period:

We’re Helping Homeless People Stay Warm and Safe this Christmas

Staff and students from Westminster Kingsway College have pulled together for London’s homeless – collecting 42 bags of warm winter clothing and hygiene products like soap, deodorant and shampoo – for Crisis, the national homelessness charity.

Crisis aims to rebuild the lives of people affected by homelessness. Offering support, advice and courses across England, Scotland and Wales, the organisation’s Crisis for Christmas campaign asks the public to find ways to support their mission during the coldest months of the year.

Mike Magras, Learning Support Manager at Westminster Kingsway College, organised the collection of clothes and hygiene products. He said:

“I am really delighted that so many of our students and staff took an active role in making our Crisis for Christmas collection such a success.

“It must be terrible to be homeless at any time, but especially at Christmas when it’s cold outside and families and friends are celebrating, so we were happy to do whatever we could to help. Our staff and students collected over 40 bags of warm clothing and vital hygiene products for London’s homeless and it’s wonderful that people’s generosity will make such a big difference to so many homeless people’s lives this winter. Our friends from Crisis will be here in the next few days to help us sort all the donated clothes and make sure that they go where they are needed most.

The college doesn’t just support its communities at Christmas. As Mike explained: “We have been working with our students since the start of term in September, on various social action projects to raise their awareness of the needs of their wider communities and we’ve been blown away by how engaged and enthusiastic they’ve been.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Westminster Kingsway College who donated, for their generosity.”

A photo of Westminster Kingsway College staff sorting piles of donated clothes for Crisis
A photo of Westminster Kingsway College staff sorting piles of donated clothes for Crisis

Westminster Kingsway College is one of three further education colleges in the Capital City College Group. The Group’s Student Ambassador Team Leader Thomas Blundell has worked with all three colleges to coordinate the collection of winter clothes for Crisis. He said: “We are delighted to be able to help Crisis out this Christmas. Having 37,000 students across 11 sites puts us in a unique position to make a real difference to London’s homeless population this Christmas.

“The original idea came from Mike Magras at our Kings Cross Centre. We spoke about doing something at the Westminster Kingsway College site and soon realised we could replicate the initiative across the Capital City College Group.

Last year, deaths among homeless people rose 22%.

“Last year, deaths among homeless people rose 22%. This is a really important, pressing issue, and we’re very grateful for the enthusiastic response we’ve had from staff so far.”

But that’s not all. The college will also be opening its doors to London’s homeless over Christmas, as it will be one of the Crisis at Christmas London centres. Commenting on this and our clothes collection, Ian, the Head of Christmas at Crisis said:

Crisis at Christmas is only possible because of the incredible support from thousands of people who volunteer and donate, united in a belief that we can end homelessness. We would like to thank Westminster Kingsway College for allowing us to use their building as one of our centres and providing us with a generous collection. With their help we provide homeless people with vital support at Christmas and a way out of homelessness for good through Crisis’ year-round services.”

Queen's Award for Enterprise