There are many homeless charities throughout the UK that do exemplary work daily, and make a positive difference to people’s lives. On this occasion we’ll focus on ‘The Passage’, which is located within walking distance of Victoria Station and Westminster Cathedral.
It is a charity informed by a Christian ethos but seeks not to impose that on the clients it deals with. The organisation has been running since 1980 and possesses a day centre that’s viewed as London’s largest in the voluntary sector.
On offer in the day centre are amongst other things: showers, a dining area (where breakfast and lunch is served), opportunities to receive medical examinations and basic treatments, laundry services, plus education, training and employment advice. The latter is extremely useful, especially for those Passage clients who are non-UK citizens. Since the expansion of the EU an increasing number of clients are coming from Eastern Europe such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, etc.
Outside of the day centre The Passage also runs a hostel called Passage House, which was refurbished last year and can house 174 residents. The charity is also able to help those clients who are almost ready for independent living once more. This is achieved though the provision of Montfort House, which contains well over a dozen en suite flats, but with support supplied when required. During the nocturnal hours when most of the staff and volunteers are in bed, The Passage can call on a specific team of workers. The Street Link wander around the Victoria area of London talking with those bedding down on the streets and making them aware of the services The Passage offer.
The charity relies a lot on the many volunteers who provide many of the services, in conjunction with the full time staff. Having talked to many of the volunteers it is clear they find it rewarding work. Potential volunteers can get in touch via the website, by telephoning or emailing. The Passage is very grateful for the donations which fund over half of its £4 million annual costs. These are received from various sources including church organisations, individuals and charity events