More homeless in need of help than usual at Christmas, Streets Kitchen find

Streets Kitchen coordinator Jon Glackin. Picture: Jess Turtle

Streets Kitchen coordinator Jon Glackin. Picture: Jess Turtle - Credit: Archant

More people have been on Islington’s streets in need of support this Christmas, a supportive organisation has found.

Streets Kitchen has continued its daily homeless outreaches over the festive period and seen a greater demand for the food, clothing and information it provides than at the same time in previous years. 

The group, which works in Hackney, Camden and Shoreditch as well as Archway, has found the usual support networks available to those in need have been less available due to Covid restrictions. 

Jon Glackin, Streets Kitchen coordinator, said: “We operated as per usual and found areas to be busier than usual for this time of year. 

“It has been a tough Christmas, a lot of places had to close due to Covid.

"There is a lot more confusion on the streets because some of the day centres are still closed and people do not know where to go or what assistance is out there.

“We have seen much the same numbers (as other weeks throughout the year) and it is not as quiet as it usually is at Christmas.”

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Without having any figures to hand, Jon said it was ‘busier than it should have been’.

Winter shelters have also not been opening due to the pandemic and Jon noted there have been ‘fewer services available’ to the homeless - although he did praise the work of Islington Council in keeping facilities running.

The virus has also impacted the work of Streets Kitchen, which has seen a 10 per cent reduction in staff due to an influx of positive tests. All volunteers are asked to take a lateral flow test before they can work.

“It is the first time we have been impacted in this way,” said Jon, “Covid is still out there and it needs to be recognised.”

He added: “If you are on a low income you do not have facilities to protect yourself.”

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