TessAgents Giving Support Grant Tessa Goodwina Goodwin and team from Urban Patchwork are walking the 26-mile Thames Trek for 999 Club on Saturday 12 October. The 999 Club provide life-changing services for homeless people in South London.

They will be starting off at 9am at Teddington Lock and then walking the South Thames Path through to Pepys Park in Deptford.

Official figures show that rough sleeping in England grew by 15% in 2017 to more than double the number in 2010. That’s thousands of people sleeping rough in freezing temperatures, day in, day out and the highest numbers on record. London has the most rough sleepers in England and many more people are homeless, staying in temporary accommodation or sofa surfing.

The 999 Club offers stability, encouragement and expertise to enable people to overcome the issues that led to their homelessness, or have put them at risk of losing their accommodation. They support people in gaining the confidence and skills needed to make changes in their lives. They run:

– A night shelter – giving people somewhere safe to sleep and other support while the 999 Club help people find more permanent accommodation.

– The Gateway – a daily drop-in centre providing somewhere warm to relax and get breakfast, stock up on toiletries and clothes, a chance to shower and do laundry, have health checks and get housing advice.

– Learning & Activities – working with people to develop their confidence and skills.

– Employability Support – supporting people through training and interviews to secure work.

Nothing is more important than having a place to come home to at the end of a stressful day: to feel safe and secure, to unwind and recuperate, to socialise with friends, to express your identity.

Having a home is the basis for a healthy and fulfilling life but this is increasingly out of reach for many due to a complex housing system that isn’t meeting everyone’s needs.

We’d love to help ensure the 999 Club can continue their vital work and make a difference to people like M.

M recently benefited from their support and said, ‘This is the first time for 18 months that I’ve been able to sleep with both eyes shut.’

Please sponsor our 26-mile walk to support the 999 Club, and remember to Gift Aid your donation too if you can.

Tessa from Urban Patchwork instigated this sponsored challenge. (She also did it last year, walking 32 miles but made it shorter this year in the hope other people would want to join her). She started the estate agent social enterprise with her brother Toby with the aims of helping to influence improvements in the agency sector and to meet more people’s housing needs by using the majority of its profits for homeless housing and support (alongside any reinvestment needed). They also aim to support the 999 Club as much as they can, as their local homeless charity doing amazing and much-needed work. Last year they raised £3778 for them and would like to try and top that this year!