On warm summer mornings, it is a joy to arrive at work by walking up to St Martin’s from Charing Cross Station. I always know that I’m early if the queue of Connection clients is stationery, winding around the corner from our door to number 5. Once we are open, the waiting people slowly shuffle towards our reception area to check-in, get a shower and breakfast.

If you aren’t used to our clients, they may come across as an intimidating bunch. It can also be easy to romanticise them, taking every story at face value when there are often many dimensions to someone’s situation. A shower and breakfast is just the start of a journey with the Connection to move away from homelessness, crisis and its causes.

Many of those people who commute into Charing Cross every day are struck by our queue. Some have just filtered it out as normal, for others it is troubling, confusing and concerning. Many want to know what is the best response to an increasing problem and we want to provide ways for people to help by building bridges between our neighbours and our clients.

The Connection and SMITFL are inviting you to participate in an experiment. Every weekday morning in August, we are holding a communal breakfast for up to 30 people in the church courtyard. Food is cooked and served by our clients, working alongside professional chefs. We want customers to talk to us, enjoy the positive side of our work and perhaps speak to some of our clients who they might otherwise see in our queue.

This unique experience will have a charge of £15, the proceeds of which will be used to fund Connection services. Our Communal Breakfast is the first step in a long development process for us, working with SMITFL to create trading activity. The profits will support our work, also providing training and employment opportunities for our clients.

To book your place at our Communal Breakfast and support the Connection’s work, check out our website https://www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk/get-involved/communal-breakfast/

Pam Orchard