London Bridge day centre for homeless appeals for help to meet £75k deficit

A London Bridge day centre for homeless people has launched a Christmas appeal as it faces a £75,000 deficit.

London Bridge day centre for homeless appeals for help to meet £75k deficit

The Manna Centre in Melior Street - yards away from London Bridge Station - welcomes around 130 homeless and vulnerable people each weekday.

The centre operates from premises provided by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark and the charity is supported by many local churches of all denominations.

In its Christmas newsletter the Manna Society reports that its monthly expenditure has risen from £40,000 in 2022-23 to approximately £45,000 in 2023-24. 

For the first six months of 2023-24 the charity's expenditure has outstripped its income by £75,000.

It has launched a Christmas appeal and is inviting donations to help it bridge the funding gap.

The society's newsletter details how the Government's haste to clear the huge backlog of unprocessed asylum applications has put pressure on advice services.

"I saw so many refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iran who were in absolute desperation, wrote advice worker Karolina Muszynska.

"Some of my clients had letters showing that they had only been given seven days’ notice to vacate their asylum support accommodation. Please understand that once an asylum seeker gets a document confirming their right to remain, they need to open a bank account and make a Universal Credit claim in order to apply for housing.

"It takes a full five weeks to get the first payment of Universal Credit and most housing providers will not accept a referral until the first payment of benefit is received."

She added: "People were so desperate that they were sleeping in front of our centre to be the first in the queue for our drop-in the following day.

"It was heartbreaking for me to see people waiting outside of Manna, with their sleeping bags, when I was leaving work at 4pm. That has never happened before in my career here."

Manna Society director Bandi Mbubi added: "For the month of September alone, out of 80 people who approached our housing and welfare advice workers, 50 were newly recognised refugees looking for accommodation – the bulk of whom came from local NASS [national support service] accommodation."

He added: "Overall numbers of people coming to us for food and the other services we offer have increased. We’re more consistently exceeding 130 people per day compared to a little over 100 people per day previously.

"As we pursue short- and long-term solutions for our refugee service-users and our general population service-users, do please continue to support our work with them."

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Tags: Charities & voluntary sector, Homelessness, Southwark, Churches

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