Supporting Lola’s Homeless
Those of you who know Stratford well may know that many vulnerable homeless people sleep rough in the Stratford Centre every night.
Every day is difficult, precarious, and dangerous for them. As well the challenges around accessing shelter, food, clothes, washing facilities, warmth, and healthcare; they are often subjected to threats, abuse and violence by the general public.
These homeless people are also constantly moved on by security and police. Indeed, council officers kicked them out of the centre in the middle of the night, and banned them from returning using Antisocial Behaviour Orders. Fortunately, a mixture of local anger and media coverage has put a hold on the eviction.
Newham has the highest rate of recorded homelessness in the country with 1 in 25 people being homeless. Rough sleeping – the most visible manifestation of homelessness – is particularly apparent in the borough. Official statistics recognises that rough sleeping in the borough has grown at an alarming rate over the last 5 or so years, but they still drastically underestimate the amount of rough sleepers in Newham.
However, local volunteers – by and large local, working class women – are working hard to make a real difference via Lola’s Homeless.
Lola’s was set up in 2015 by Lorraine Tabone, who was born and bred in Forest Gate. Since its inception, Lola’s volunteers have provided frontline, material support to rough sleepers and people living in sheltered accommodation.
Lola’s conducts regular outreach sessions, in which they give out home-cooked food, clean clothing, toiletries, sanitary products, sleeping bags, travel cards, and information about local services. They also host larger events where homeless people can access showers, haircuts, makeovers, medical advice, and a safe space – even if it’s just for a short while.
Most importantly, Lola’s volunteers treat homeless people with the warmth and dignity they deserve.
With Lola’s support, rough sleepers are that little bit less vulnerable. Indeed, a number of people have been able to move off the streets and into a much more stable life.
Clapton Ultras are proud to support Lorraine and her volunteers, and will be helping them out as much as we can going forward. If you have time, skills, expertise or resources to share – we urge you to do so. You can get in touch with Lola’s Homeless directly on their Facebook group.
Lola’s currently receives no grant funding from anywhere – we’ll be collecting donations* at the Stansted away game on 10th February.
If you won’t be at the game but still wish to contribute, you can do so via their justgiving page.
* Cash and spare oyster cards both gratefully accepted