As StreetSmart announces its latest fundraising total of £587,000, collected from 525 participating restaurants and hotels, a new report says rough sleeping has increased again in London over 2016.
Over 7,500 people were seen sleeping rough in London by outreach teams last year – including 880 under-25s – a substantial rise on recent years. Meanwhile, the loss of a private tenancy is now the number one cause of homelessness in the capital, accounting for a shocking 39% of those accepted as homeless in London in 2016.
StreetSmart – which raises funds by adding £1 per table at participating restaurants during November and December – continues to be supported by high profile celebrities, chefs and restaurants. Between them, the restaurants hold 40 Michelin Stars and 365 AA Rosettes UK-wide, and include The River Café, The St John and Chiltern Firehouse.
Top earners this time include newcomer Fortnum & Mason, and StreetSmart regulars Selfridges, Polpo, and MEATLiquor.
“We are indebted to all participating restaurants and grateful for the generosity of their customers for donating all those pounds. The fact that this is our best year in terms of donations from restaurants shows their commitment to helping the vulnerable and their desire to give back to their local areas”, said Glenn Pougnet, Director of StreetSmart.
Supporter Stephen Fry added: “Every year StreetSmart grows as more and more restaurants catch onto the simplicity and splendour of the idea. Britain is enriched by the quality of its restaurants, and now the restaurateur, chefs and their patrons are helping to enrich the lives of those caught in the misery of homelessness.”
StreetSmart’s eleven-year partnership with Deutsche Bank, who covers all of StreetSmart’s operational and administrative costs, has been crucial to the campaign’s success. Diners and hotel guests know that every penny of each £1 donated goes straight to the charities they fund, who spend them on emergency needs for rough sleepers including winter shelters, food and clothing provision, as well as initiatives that address the root issues of homelessness such as physical and mental health, employability and sustainable independent living. In 2017, some of the funds raised were able to support 94 new jobs and 197 training schemes, as well as provide over 2,724 meals and 1,180 beds for vulnerable people across the UK.