Half of the money raised by the BBC Radio 4 St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal goes to support The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields: a centre providing vital services for thousands of homeless people every year.
Visit The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields website.
Revd Dick Sheppard’s vision of a church of ‘the ever open door’ became a reality in 1948 when then vicar Austen Williams founded the Social Care Unit. Working out of the church Crypt and vaults, the Social Care Unit assisted homeless people aged over 26 with support, advice and daily activities.
In 1988, St Martin’s identified the old school building as being a suitable site for a new day centre for young people. The London Connection was formed, helping young people aged 16-25 rebuild their lives.
In 2003, the London Connection and the Social Care Unit merged to form The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Housed in the North Range of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Connection is run as an independent charity which maintains deep links with the church.
With around 80 staff and over 500 volunteers, The Connection is the busiest homeless centre in the UK. It provides a wide range of services under one roof including:
- day centre
- an emergency night centre which accommodates up to 40 people
- advice, hostel referrals, legal and welfare services
- in-house NHS service
- housing and resettlement advice
- street outreach providing proactive support to people sleeping rough
- employment and training service
- creative engagement programmes including football, creative writing, digital media, minority groups and singing
- support for substance misuse
For more information about The Connection at St Martin’s and its work, please visit their website.