During the COVID-19 shut-down, Webber Street has continued to operate as an essential service, keeping in line within Government guidelines, by serving takeaway breakfasts to those who still find themselves living on the streets. We estimate that the number of people we served on a daily-basis this week ranged between 40 – 70 people.
Since the shut-down was announced, Webber Street has had to adapt and assess our current service and will continue to do so on a daily basis which may result in us needing to change our approach and direction as necessary.
Currently, the small team comprising of the Team Leader, staff and church volunteers are preparing and handing out food and serving tea and coffee to the homeless outside of our building. In addition, we are giving out much needed toiletries.
We realise that continuing this ministry is vitally important and will be until such a time as all the homeless in the area are accommodated. Whilst many homeless individuals have been put up in hotels, many are still waiting for this to become a reality. This is no easy task to co-ordinate, particularly for the local outreach teams responsible for this task.
Working in partnership to maximise the help we can provide to rough sleepers at this time is crucial. This week in particular we have been able to focus on working more closely with the Lambeth outreach team and have helped them to compile a list of the homeless individuals in the area who still need to be accommodated. We trust that this will be helpful in speeding up the process of getting rough sleepers off the streets.
Another partnership we have been so grateful to have and develop during the crisis, is our partnerships with local Churches. We have had a handful of church volunteers help us this week and we are so grateful to them for their sacrifice and time as well as for the Churches who have so kindly and generously donated food and supplies to Webber Street to distribute to those who find themselves even more vulnerable and desperate during this pandemic.
- The Evening Standard posted a picture on page 2 of our clients queuing up for a take-away breakfast on Wednesday morning, which highlighted the urgent need for rough sleep to be accommodated where they can be warm, safe and self-isolate if necessary.
- Bishops Local Policing Team cycled past Webber Street and stopped to chat to staff. They assured us of their support and gave us their details to contact them if we needed to.
- One of the local residents, Mr. T, thanked us for what we were doing and ensured us of his support and asked how he could help. He also dropped off some fruit with us this week to hand out to those who were coming to the food hand-out.
We aim to continue serving take-away breakfasts next week and will continue assessing the current situation to see how we can best serve the homeless community during this difficult and challenging time.