Addison Lee has launched a winter appeal with Centrepoint in a bid to tackle youth homelessness in London.
As part of the partnership, the taxi and courier service company has made a £20,000 donation to the charity.
It will also appeal to users of their services to donate to Centrepoint, and has pledged to deliver Christmas presents to homeless young people living in temporary accommodation.
The company will also be donating rides to Centrepoint staff members, to enable them to get to work during the Christmas holidays.
‘We know that youth homelessness is a major problem in London; however, we were really taken aback by the scale of it,’ said Addison Lee’s chief operating officer, Patrick Gallagher.
‘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,’ added Mr Gallagher.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have created a devastating economic fallout, with a disproportionate impact on youth unemployment.
Around two thirds (60%) of job losses between June and August this year were amongst those aged 16-24.
Research by the Revolution Foundation found that one in five young people who were furloughed during the initial lockdown have since lost their jobs, which combined with the many other complicated factors leading to youth homelessness – family breakdown, mental health issues, difficulty accessing support, and the recent lifting of the ban on evictions – means that more young people than ever before could face homelessness this Christmas.
Centrepoint reported a 50% increase in calls to its helpline since the pandemic began, and with social distancing and lockdown in place, the number of young people calling in who are already sleeping on the streets, rather than couch surfing or at risk, has doubled.
Latest figures show a sharp increase in young people sleeping rough in the capital, rising 47% from 250 in 2019 to 368 this year.
As part of its launch, Addison Lee drivers were photographed with the boards which usually display the names of their passengers, instead conveying the devastating message that at least 4000 young people could face homelessness this Christmas.
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.’
Photo Credit – Scott_Murdocks (Pixabay)