Project information

Food, shelter and healthcare for homeless people

The Connection at St Martins has the only free and instant access Night Centre for homeless people in London. Every winter, hundreds of people will rely on this for safe shelter away from the freezing conditions on the streets. We will be ensuring that as many people as possible can have access.

November 2014 - March 2015

Charity information

The Connection at St Martin's - helping homeless people in London

The Connection at St Martin's - helping homeless people in London logo
  • Need


    The 21km-square borough of Westminster contains a staggering 25% of the rough sleeping population in England & Wales. Reasons for sleeping on the streets are varied, but recent figures show two leading causes to be loss of employment and eviction.
    Over the winter months, when temperatures can drop below freezing for several days in a row, there is a very real risk of severe health difficulties developing, and in some instances, death. A lack of nutritious food compounds these health problems


    The Connection's Outreach team go out onto the streets seven-days-a-week, making contact with vulnerable rough sleepers and inviting them into our Night Centre.
    Our clients will receive a hot nutritious meal from our canteen, a hot shower, a bed, and access to all services, including the laundry and a GP when our Day Centre opens in the morning.
    We will then address the root causes of each person's homelessness, putting together a plan of personalised support to help them away from the street.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To significantly lower the numbers of people rough sleeping in Westminster over the Winter months.


    » Our Outreach teams will go out seven-days-a-week to contact vulnerable rough sleepers and invite them in to our service.

    We carry out regular street counts, recording the numbers of rough sleepers on the streets. Success will be shown by bringing these numbers down.

    Aim 2

    To provide warmth, shelter, health-care, comfort and sustenance to rough sleepers.


    » Rough sleepers will be invited into our free Night Centre and given a bed.
    » We will make available a laundry, showers, and canteen, all free of charge.
    » Our GP service will see as many clients as possible, and make available a specially-trained podiatrist.
    » Our professional and highly-trained support staff will offer advice and friendly company to all clients.

    Success will be reaching our capacity of 70 rough sleepers, and having our laundry, showers, GP service and canteen fully operational and accessible.

    Aim 3

    To support rough sleepers to move away from the streets.


    » Assessments designed to address root causes of people's homelessness and any additional issues from their time on the streets.
    » Access to our Education, Training and Employment service, incl. work placements, voluntary schemes, employability workshops, and qualifications.
    » Access to our Housing service, incl. benefits advice, referrals into hostel and other temporary accommodation, and support to retain tenancies.
    » Access to our Advice services, incl. our team of professional Mental Health workers, gambling support, addiction support, and therapeutic activities.

    Success will be shown by an increase in the numbers of rough sleepers using our services and accessing advice and support around accommodation, employment, and personal issues.

  • Impact


    This project will offer more rough sleepers respite from the streets, benefiting their physical and mental health, thus increasing their ability to engage with services designed to support them to move away from the streets.
    One way in which we will demonstrate success is by supporting rough sleepers to move in to accommodation through accessing our Advice & Housing service.
    Another way is by supporting people to access training, and enter employment, through our ETE service Workspace.


    There is a risk that demand could exceed our capacity. We have dealt with this by increasing our capacity to 70, which has been proving adequate.


    We will keep donors updated via our social media channels throughout the Winter months, and by our bi-annual newsletter which contains all the latest facts, figures and success stories from the Centre.
    If donors wish, they are welcome to come in to visit the centre and receive an informative tour.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,500 Staff and volunteers Providing advice and assistance to rough sleepers
      £2,000 Food Hot and nutritious fare
      £1,000 Healthcare GP, nurse and podiatrist service
      £1,500 Night Centre Heat, light and cleaning
  • Background


    Our centre is located just off Trafalgar Square in the heart of Westminster, in which 25% of the street homeless population in England & Wales is located; there is a very large number of vulnerable people in our locality.
    Historically, we were founded by the St Martin-in-the-Fields Church before becoming an independent organisation, and the long history of work with homeless and disadvantaged people in the area has resulted in the development of our unique and specialist services.


    All of our service-users are, or have been at some point in their lives, street homeless and rough sleeping on the streets of Westminster.
    Many are long-term unemployed, with multiple complex needs including poor physical and mental health, abusive or traumatic past experiences, and alcohol, drug, or gambling addictions.
    We can honestly say that many of the most disadvantaged people in society will be benefiting immensely from this project.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are a very experienced and professional service which addresses the sharp end of homelessness with front-line services. Our Night Centre has been welcoming people in off the streets for over two decades; our Outreach teams continue to reduce the numbers of rough sleepers in Westminster; and our holistic approach means that once people have accessed our Centre from the streets, they are actively supported into accommodation and employment through services in all areas of the building.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Paul Symonds

    Night Centre Manager. Paul and his team of dedicated support staff keep the Night Centre open seven-days-a-week providing a lifeline to rough sleepers


One night's stay in our Night Centre

When the wife died I was left to bring up my son. Then when my son left home I was on my own. I didn't feel right, I started getting depressed.