Homeless, hungry and at high risk of deadly disease… this is the plight that over 10,000 homeless people across London will have to contend with as temperatures start to plummet. The global pandemic is set to deeply exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation of those trying to survive on London’s streets. At the severe peak of those experiencing the catastrophe of 2020, homeless people face the danger of living out in the open air without access to heating, warm clothing and nourishing food – the most basic elements necessary for survival. Winter is a time of real and terrible struggle from them without the addition of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Once temperatures climb down to below zero, only the toughest will be able to evade the risk of serious illness and sadly death. Every year we see tragic but real reports of the elderly and new-born babies who have frozen to death, with various degrees of misery and indirect death for others as a result of the harsh conditions. The Office for National Statistics figures for England and Wales, reported 726 deaths of homeless people in 2019 and that was before this year’s pandemic had hit.

In light of these tragic statistics the Longley Group has teamed up with local hero John Bygraves and created the Project: WeAreOne, whose mission it is to help everyone keep warm this winter. Project: WeAreOne are asking members of our community and kind individuals to donate winter warmers for us to give to those in desperate need in this most challenging winter. We will be distributing much needed food, clothing and sanitary supplies throughout the winter months to the following important charities; the Croydon Nightwatch homeless charity, Bromley Borough Foodbank, Redbridge Foodbank and SHP Redbridges night shelter.

What are winter warmers? Quite simply something additional that can keep a homeless person warm, both inside and out. We are looking for clothing items such as sleeping bags, blankets, coats, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves. New and unused items would be greatly appreciated, however used items in good condition and washed before donating, are also gratefully received. Urgently needed food such as instant coffee, sugar, tinned products such as tomatoes, potatoes, fruit, rice pudding, custard, spreads like jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread or honey and long life juice.  As well as hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, shower gel, nappies and detergent. Please drop items off at The Longley Group’s  main office reception 2A North Street, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1SB between and 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and we will ensure ensure those in need receive them. For those who prefer to donate money, please contact the office on 0203 846 8793.

All donations will be stored at the office and distributed weekly by John Bygraves. In 2017 John himself was left devastated when diagnosed with a very rare cancer and only given three months to live. However, after following many treatments including radio therapy, chemotherapy and holistic approaches he defied all the odds and is thankfully still with us today. Whilst battling cancer and his own life-threatening experience John started supporting these homeless shelters and foodbanks and made it his mission to help those less fortunate. He is happy to have partnered up with Longley for Project: WeAreOne who share his vision to help those facing such adversity.

The Longley Group is passionate about having a purpose beyond profit. Head of this project and Managing Director of the Longley Group Charlie Longley said ‘With the current pandemic devastating so many lives, especially those of homeless people, we at Longley felt compelled to try and help. Partnering with the inspirational John Bygraves and local charities we are proud to put together the Project: WeAreOne. Our aim is to deliver food and warm clothing to as many of those people in dire need as possible through these cold winter months’.  As well as donating time and company resources to make this project happen, Charlie has generously donated £500 for the purchase of sleeping bags. The entire team at Longley are fully supporting this initiative and are delighted to be part of such a worthy scheme and hope others will be inspired to get involved.

In addition to this appeal plans are afoot to host four charity events per year, including a charity ball, to further support those in need in the local community. These projects and charity work are part of the Longley Group’s company ethos and corporate social responsibility plan. The stark truth is that we cannot help everyone but with a little generosity, our collective work and donations can make a difference and be a lifeline to those in need. We thank you in advance for your generosity and look forward to updating you on our progress. Let’s help everyone stay warm this winter.

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