Simon Community: Belsize Park homeless charity’s Christmas challenge to replace ‘vital’ rough sleeping outreach van

Simon Community volunteers serving food at their weekly evening centre for rough sleepers. Picture:

Simon Community volunteers serving food at their weekly evening centre for rough sleepers. Picture: Simon Community - Credit: Archant

Homelessness charity the Simon Community are running an urgent Christmas appeal in order to replace an van which is “matter of life and death”.

The Simon Community uses its van to distribute hot food and to work with rough sleepers. Picture: Si

The Simon Community uses its van to distribute hot food and to work with rough sleepers. Picture: Simon Community - Credit: Archant

The Belsize Park-based charity is taking part in the Big Give Christmas appeal and hoping to pick up £8,500 in order to replace the outreach vehicle it uses to ferry volunteers around Camden and Westminster distributing hot drinks and support to those sleeping rough.

Its previous van has to be scrapped as it no longer meets emissions requirements.

Rachel Cullen, who manages the outreach service for the charity, explained the van was used "almost every day" and added: "Those rough sleepers depend on our support. It's literally a matter of life and death for them.

"It will make all the difference to our vital work this winter."

The Simon Community's old outreach van. Picture: Simon Community

The Simon Community's old outreach van. Picture: Simon Community - Credit: Archant

The Big Give was founded by entrepreneur Sir Alec Reed CBE and sees charity Christmas donations match-funded.

You can support the Simon Community at: crowdfunder.co.uk/all-i-want-is-a-home-this-christmas

It will use £5,000 to purchase a new second-hand van, £1,100 to run a "soup run" to 100 rough sleepers and £2,400 to pay for half of the charity's street outreach costs to help 500 rough sleepers.