Wimbledon YMCA bring festive cheer to homeless this Christmas

More than 6,500 people slept rough last year in London, and Wimbledon’s YMCA hopes to help those who will be homeless over the festive period.

The shelter will host carol services and a Christmas dinner to make this year memorable for their residents.

With more than 100 rooms available, officials at the YMCA predict that this year will see an increase in the number of people looking for rooms.

Shelter, the UK’s leading charity for homelessness, predicted that more than 90,000 children across Britain will be spending Christmas on the streets.

Julie Barnett, reception team leader at the YMCA, said: “When they’re that young it’s quite heart-wrenching.”

Ms Barnett explained how an 18-year-old, who was assessed as being particularly vulnerable, could not secure housing from the council after not being able to pay the deposit.

“I do still feel emotional about it,” said Ms Barnett. “But you can’t – and I can’t – do anything about it personally.”

She said that many of the people who walk through their doors have been in care and the disruption in their lives continues as they struggle to secure accommodation.

Some have come from Europe only to end up on the streets, while others have suffered from financial struggles all their life.

Ms Barnett said: “We have a good crew of volunteers to equip them for their life after they leave here.”

Bernadette Pierre, who has been a resident at the YMCA for the last two months, said: “I wouldn’t say this is a hotel, because it’s not – it’s a hostel in the true sense of the word.

“You get on and you hope for the best of things, and hope for a better day and a permanent place.”

Related Articles