As the nights draw in and become colder, as a property specialist the issue of homelessness is particularly poignant. For our winter charity campaign this year we have chosen to collect warm winter clothing to donate to West London's homeless support groups.
It may be that you have just bought a smart new winter coat and your old coat has been relegated to a long retirement in the back of the cupboard, or perhaps the gloves, hat and scarf that you proudly sported on a skiing holiday five years ago are never going to be worn again. Whatever the item, whatever the reason, many of us have warm winter clothing that we simply do not wear.
According to the UK's Combined Homeless Information Network, more than 7,500 people slept on London's streets last year which is double the number of 10 years ago. Those sleeping on the streets have wide-ranging backgrounds and situations which led to their homeless status, but what unites them all is that they are sleeping outside with no roof, no bed, no heating and often inadequate, damp clothing.
Thorgills staff regularly volunteer at the Ealing Soup Kitchen at St John's Church on Mattock Lane in Ealing, and our interactions with the people we meet there prompted us to do a little more to help.
We are asking West London residents to root around for wearable old winter woollies in their wardrobes and drop them off to any of our five branches throughout November. We will then visit homeless support groups and events throughout West London in December to distribute the kindly donated clothes to those who really need a waterproof coat, a warm hat or a woolly jumper to protect them from the elements this winter.