Soho-based property company Cedar Dean Group partnered with Central London’s busiest homeless charity The Connection at St Martin’s for a Valentine’s day out in the city.
Six teams, made up of homeless clients of the charity and volunteers from CDG and The Connection, embarked on a Big Bus Tour of London, highlighting some of the city’s key sites, and a quiz.
Teams were then treated to a hot meal of Fish and Chips at Great British Fish and Chips, on Westminster Bridge Road, a client of CDG.
The purpose of the day was to help those who had fallen on hard times to rediscover their strengths and build confidence in interacting with people in social and professional environments.
Through the activities, CDG wanted to raise awareness about the charity and encourage the property sector to get involved in supporting vulnerable members of the community.
Lance Kuhn, volunteer manager, The Connection at St Martin’s said:“Events such as these, where homeless clients get to mix with volunteers from a professional business community, really make a huge difference to our client’s self-esteem.
“As homeless people can be very marginalised, having an interested group of people investing time and energy getting to know them greatly increases the feeling that they process some societal value and the knowledge that people do really care for and are looking out for their welfare.
“Several clients who joined us for the day were in what I call the ‘hard to reach’ category, exhibiting signs of mental distress and poor communication skills. I’ve had such positive feedback from these clients who have found their voice and have expressed so much gratitude for the opportunity to spend a few hours away from the daily grind of a life spent on the streets.
“External visits such as these gives clients the opportunity to experience London as a participant – and not just as a statistic – and the gains in confidence and self-worth are evident in the way these clients have started to engage with the Connection’s services since the day out.”
CDG leisure property consultant, Abi Thompson, first volunteered at the charity and suggested that CDG get involved with its work.
Abi said: “As a company based in Soho, we encounter and see homelessness on a daily basis. We decided that we wanted to help change this. After I visited the centre and witnessed the fantastic work they are doing to help, CDG decided to give something back and take the clients of the charity on a day out around London. We realised it is important to, not only provide basic needs, but also to try and bring some enjoyment to people’s lives where possible. The day was a great a success and we hope to be able to do something similar very soon.”
David Abramson, CEO, Cedar Dean Group, said: “I am delighted CDG were able to be part of this experience. What I learned was that are many homeless people who have full time jobs who are forced on the street due to being unable to afford the soaring rents in London. In addition, we really benefitted from being educated by The Connection St Martin’s that the best way to help people in the long term is by giving people a hand up not a hand out as this is ultimately keeping them away from the real help they need.”
How The Connection at St Martin’s helps people recover
The charity helps 4,500 people a year build their lives away from the streets. It relieves the immediate effects of rough sleeping with practical support and hot food, showers and clean clothes. It also works with people to address the complexities of their situation and find housing, work and independence.
How companies can get involved
- Sponsor a day out so homeless people can have an experience to remember and feel good about themselves
- Fund one of the transformative services and make a real difference to homeless people’s lives. The Connection at St Martin’s has street outreach, an emergency night centre, a range of support groups and a training and employment service
- Provide venues to hold fundraising events and exhibit and sell homeless people’s art
For more information visit www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk
Cedar Dean Group Press Office
Shekha Vyas, firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07515105543
The Connection at St Martin’s UK Press Team
Sophie Balaam, email@example.com or call on 0207 766 5555