On August 4th, a group of Lineup’s staff gathered in London to walk a mile – or more – in the shoes of the city’s homeless population.
We were guided by The Soup Kitchen, a London charity organization that provides not only basic needs for London’s homeless, but also medical and mental health services. The Soup Kitchen is a resource for unhoused, elderly, lonely, and vulnerable people in London. They’ve recently launched Europe’s first ever mental health drop-in clinic (with a soup kitchen attached) to offer mental health support. The charity strives to reconnect people with their families, find employment, and change the current trajectory of their lives by providing sustained assistance like food, clothing, individual mental health counseling sessions, regular access to healthcare, and friendship.
At Lineup, we too recognize the importance of mental health care as part of general wellbeing, and we were thrilled at the opportunity to learn more about The Soup Kitchen’s work while we raised funds for them.
Our walk started near Goodge Street in the West End, and wound through the streets of London for about 2 hours. Each participant carried a rucksack of food and water to hand out to the homeless they encountered on the way, which also gave us the opportunity to speak with some of these people, learn about their circumstances, and simply be a friendly, caring face in the crowd.
Studies have shown clear links between homelessness and the prevalence of mental health and we learned more about the importance of mental health care for homeless populations as we walked with our guides from The Soup Kitchen.
Though we did not take pictures of the people we encountered out of respect for their current situation, the conversations we had throughout the day were humbling and impactful, and will stay with us much longer than our sore feet from the day.
“To say it was eye opening and deeply sad to witness the plight of homeless people around our home city would be an understatement, but it also felt rewarding to feel like we helped – even if just a little that day – not only with providing material support like snacks and water, but also simply by speaking to them and acknowledging them as fellow human beings,” said Sarah Haydon of the day.
Recent global hardship has highlighted to us all how important support for our local community is, both as individuals and as a company. Our work roles and our business naturally exists to support our customers and their needs; being able to do something to support the community during work hours, supported by the company, was incredibly important to us. It was also a good reminder that even a seemingly small action (like handing out snacks, water, toiletry essentials, and even just acknowledging a person who is often overlooked) can change the course of someone’s day.
As our CIO, Rob, pointed out, “corporate social responsibility is more than a term to check off a DEI list: it’s about being part of a community and feeling like we can achieve things as a team for that community’s improvement”.
The best way to end the day was meeting a gentleman along our walk who was able to tell us his story of homelessness, and that he had been able to stop using The Soup Kitchen. With their support, he had recently started a new job and had gotten himself to where he wanted to be, and we are so grateful to everyone who contributed to our day: with your support, we have reached over 103% of our fundraising goal to help The Soup Kitchen & their community.
If you’re still interested in contributing to The Soup Kitchen, our JustGiving link is still active here.