Image courtesy of the GLA

St Mungo’s Recovery College tutor Stuart (pictured, second from left) joined the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and others today to launch a new fundraising campaign at City Hall.

A total of 22 organisations form the London Homeless Charities Group, which offers Londoners an easily accessible, single donation point with all donations split between the charities and going towards vital services.

The campaign is supported by the Mayor. He said: “Londoners care about rough sleeping and want to do their bit to help. Last year they threw their support behind my campaign, raising nearly £200,000 and increasing referrals to Streetlink by 45% over the winter. This year I want us to do even better, raising more funds and giving more people a route out of homelessness.”

St Mungo’s directed money raised from last year’s campaign to fund Recovery College activities.

This year Stuart, who is a Recovery College tutor, helped launch the campaign with the Mayor and other members of the coalition.

He has been a part of St Mungo’s Recovery College since it opened five years ago. He said: “I had it all. A family home, my soulmate and three beautiful sons. I also had a drug and alcohol problem which I had suffered from since an early age. Even though I was able to work as a functioning addict, life was chaotic and to this end, my partner gave me an ultimatum – it was her and our sons or my addictions.

“Due to “the nature of the beast”, I chose addiction, a decision that will haunt me for the rest of my life. So began my life in and out of supported services and a life on the streets, where I slept rough around London for three years until 2012. Then I was supported by an Outreach Team into a No Second Night Out and then moved into St Mungo’s hostel in South London.

“In 2013 my St Mungo’s support worker told me about the charity’s Recovery College. I went along and attended a Personal Development and Wellbeing workshop. Ironically, the first workshop I attended was on “Self Esteem”. I was Inspired!

“After a few months, I wanted to do more so I joined Outside In (St Mungo’s client involvement group). I qualified as a Peer Facilitator and Recovery College tutor and have been delivering Personal Development and Wellbeing courses for the last few years. I am now living independently thanks to help of St Mungo’s.”

The funds raised for this year’s campaign will feed into a single fund, which will be split equally between the 22 members of the London Homeless Charities Group and spent on services to tackle or prevent rough sleeping.

Read more about the Mayor of London’s campaign.

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, help connect them with local services by contacting StreetLink.