Streets Kitchen urges more volunteers to help rough sleepers in Finsbury Park after ‘excellent’ first meeting
PUBLISHED: 10:00 25 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:53 28 December 2017
As Euston Station today opens its doors to provide food and shelter for hundreds of homeless people in London, others are hard at work in Finsbury Park following the deaths of two rough sleepers in Islington.
Grassroots group Streets Kitchen held its first event on Thursday to provide sleeping bags, warm jumpers, gloves, socks and food to people sleeping on the streets of Finsbury Park.
It was run from its temporary hub – the Nag’s Head Solidarity Centre – at 48 Seven Sisters Road, which has been given to them free of charge by Islington Council.
Founder Jon Glackin said the mission was to keep people alive following the sad news of two deaths.
“It was a good start on Thursday but we didn’t feed too many, you know?” he said. “But it was excellent. There’s about 30 or 40 people sleeping in the park and we need to get the word to them because they lock it.
“We’ve said we’ll be at the gates at 8pm every Thursday, although we may need to talk to Finsbury Park Mosque because they do a similar event on the same day.
“At this time of year lots of volunteers come out for one offs but we need it to be regular so people get used to it.”
Upper Street Big Issue seller Neculai Popa, 33, died while friends were fundraising to pay for a hostel room for him and are now continuing to request funds to pay for his funeral.
Meanwhile another woman died aged 43 – the average age of death for a homeless woman in London.
“She went to hospital the day before and they said there were no beds so she come to our place, went away and lay down for a few hours and never got up,” said Jon. “It brings it home.”
Jon has also written to Islington, Hackney and Haringey councils pleading for them to offer up free space that his team can set up as shelter for rough sleepers.
“I haven’t heard anything back yet,” he said. “What we want is the visitors’ centre in Holloway Prison. We’re the only people who want to be in jail this Christmas.”
Donations can be taken to the Seven Sisters Road centre at any time.