Minicab company Addison Lee has announced a new winter partnership with youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.
The partnership sees Addison Lee directly donate £20,000 to Centrepoint and appeal to passengers to support the partnership through their own donations. Later this year the company will deliver presents to homeless young people in hostels and donate rides to help Centrepoint staff get to work over the Christmas holidays.
In a stark reminder of the scale of homelessness in the capital, today’s launch sees Addison Lee drivers use the boards that usually contain the name of their passengers to draw attention to the fact that at least 4,000 young people are likely to be facing homelessness in London this Christmas.
The number is based on Centrepoint’s Youth Homelessness Databank, which looks at the number young people who approached their local council for support because they were homeless or at risk of homelessness between October and December 2019.
Centrepoint says it is very likely that the coronavirus pandemic will increase that number this year.
This supported by a report published last week which revealed the number of young people rough sleeping in the capital has increased for the second consecutive quarter, rising 47% from 250 in 2019 to 368 this year. Young people now make up 11% of those rough sleeping in the capital.
Lucy Coleman, Centrepoint’s Senior Corporate Fundraising Manager, said: “These striking photos lay bare the scale of the challenge Centrepoint faces in supporting homeless young people in the coming months. Last Christmas thousands of young people were homeless or at risk of homelessness and had nowhere to turn. Now, with the lockdown leaving an increasing number of young people with nowhere safe to stay it seems inevitable that number will be rising.
“At Centrepoint we’ve worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure homeless young people get the support they need. Now, with an uncertain Christmas period approaching we expect to be busier than ever, so the support from Addison Lee couldn’t have come at a more vital time.”
Patrick Gallagher, Addison Lee’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We know that youth homelessness is a major problem in London; however, we were really taken aback by the scale of it. The coronavirus pandemic will only make this situation worse and we felt we had to offer our support and raise awareness, particularly going into Christmas.
“As a company with 45 years of heritage in London, we are proud to partner with a charity synonymous with helping London’s young people. We’ll be working with Centrepoint over the coming months to help the team there give homeless young people the best possible Christmas and hopefully a fresh start in life.”