StreetSmart was set up in 1998 by two ethically-minded London business people, William Sieghart, Chairman of StreetSmart, founder of Forward Publishing and Mary-Lou Sturridge, Former Director of The Groucho Club, Hotelier.
The idea was simple. During November and December in the run-up to Christmas, many people go out to eat in restaurants and celebrate the spirit of the holidays; so wouldn’t it be great if we could harness just a little of that “good cheer” and raise money for worthy charities at the same time people were enjoying a nice meal out?
So StreetSmart was born.
We decided to make StreetSmart a fundraising charity. In other words, it raises money and then distributes it directly to the actual charities, hostels and projects that have the experience and facilities to help adults and children who are living on the streets, are homeless and want to get back on their feet. The money goes to charities providing for both basic needs and to those supplying the skills and resources needed to help in the long-term.
William is the chairman and co-founder of StreetSmart. He has had a distinguished career in publishing and the arts. He founded Forward Publishing in 1988, one of London’s leading magazine publishers. He was also the founder of the Forward Poetry Prizes, Britain’s largest prizes for poetry and National Poetry Day. William is Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Somerset House in London, an appointment he took up in September 2015. For many years he was a member of the Arts Council and Chairman of its Lottery Committee. He is currently Chairman of The Arts Foundation, StreetSmart and Forward Arts Foundation. William is a Trustee of Reprieve, Britdocs and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. He is also founder and Chairman of Forward Thinking, a London-based NGO that works with the leadership of all parties on both sides of the divide in the Israel/Palestine conflict. William is a published author and a regular broadcaster. His most recent book is Winning Words, an inspirational poetry anthology published by Faber and Faber. William chaired and authored ‘An Independent Review of E-Lending in Public Libraries in England’ published by Department Culture, Media and Sport in 2013 and was subsequently jointly commissioned by Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, DCMS and Brandon Lewis, Minister for Communities & Local Government, DCLG to consider and report on Public Library services in England. The ‘Independent Library report for England’ was published by DCMS in Dec 2014.
Mary-Lou is the co-founder of StreetSmart and is the former Director of London’s Groucho Club, where the StreetSmart campaign first began. In 2015 she brought a dash of Groucho Club glamour to Dorset, opening her own hotel, The Seaside Boarding House.
Nick was Co-Founder and Director of the Poster Shop. In 1998 he turned his entrepreneurial skills to growing and establishing StreetSmart, and was Director until 2004. He now runs his own wine consultancy business managing clients’ wine cellars.
Rosie is a journalist and the first female editor of two national broadsheets. In 1971 she co-founded the influential feminist magazine Spare Rib, from 1992 to 1996 she edited the men’s magazine Esquire. She’s a former editor of the Independent, The Independent on Sunday and the Daily Express. Outside journalism Rosie has presented the BBC Radio 4 programme A Good Read. She has sat on judging panels for literary awards, notably chairing the panel judging the 2001 Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also a Trustee of the Hay Festival in the UK. In 2008 she was appointed as the chairman of London Food to help improve Londoners’ access to healthy, locally produced and affordable food.