EnglishArabicChinese (Simplified)CzechFrenchGermanItalianPolishRomanianRussianSpanishSerbian

photo: Chelsea FC's Reece James with hostel project manager Bruce Marquart. Photo copyright: Lisa Tse.

6 Jan 2021

Glass Door's hostel project, launched this winter to provide safety during the pandemic, wouldn't have been possible without the collaboration of partner organisations. Here we recognise the contribution of some of these key partnerships. 

Glass Door worked with a number of organisations to launch a new accommodation project in time for its winter season. Normally, Glass Door would open our shelters to people affected by homelessness in early November and stay open until early April. This winter, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the charity needed to find a way to allow guests to stay in their own individual rooms instead of running communal shelters.

Several organisations, including LHA London, Westgate UK, The Felix Project, along with many supporters, stepped in to help make the new service a reality.

“These partnerships helped to bring about real change for people in need of shelter and support in the midst of a global pandemic,” says Glass Door CEO, Lucy Abraham. She adds:

Seeing what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal is incredible. Together, we can not only save lives, but hopefully change lives too.

A safe place to stay

Room in LHA hostel as part of Glass Door

Glass Door worked with LHA London Ltd (which provides affordable accommodation to young people either studying or working in the Capital) to secure 92 individual rooms within two of their central London sites at a heavily discounted rate. 

Alex Norris, a caseworker at Glass Door, points out that it is easier to work with guests staying in a hostel than in a succession of shelters. As Alex told the Financial Times:

They’re not going to worry about getting out into the driving rain first thing in the morning and walking to the next place.

Guests staying in these rooms have a more secure base, are provided with three meals a day and can access Glass Door’s casework service.

2 Feb 2021 update: we are pleased to announce that we have increased the number of rooms being offered to those in need of shelter to 101, meaning that an extra nine people per night now have a safe place to sleep.

Temporary offices help caseworkers deliver vital service

All guests of the hostel project have support from a designated Glass Door caseworker to help them move on from homelessness.

Caseworkers at the hostels were finding it difficult to find enough private spaces to conduct one-to-one consultations with guests. That’s when Westgate UK (a company that supplies and installs partitions, screens, hoarding and associated products) stepped in to lend a helping hand.

Westgate, who had recently donated social distancing screens for Glass Door's headquarters, said they could find a solution. Just before Christmas, they donated and installed Hoardfast® modular partitions in the common areas in the hostels to create more privacy for staff and guests.

Installation of temporary walls by Westgate UK in a Glass Door hostel

Westgate’s marketing manager David Collins-Lafferty explains why the company made the donation:

The work Glass Door does and the impact that the pandemic is having on people who are homeless really struck a chord with us, so we wanted to find a way for our modular partitioning product to help the charity and support them in delivering their essential services. We’re really proud to be able to make this difference for Glass Door.

Glass Door caseworker Andrew Cozin says it makes a huge difference:

Now, it’s much easier to have that sensitive conversation. I feel I can be much more effective in my work.

Regular food donations keep hostel guests well nourished

Throughout the winter season, The Felix Project has been delivering donated surplus food to the hostel project. From the time the hostels opened in mid-November to end of December, The Felix Project provided over 6,000 meals to guests, which covered around 70% of our total food needs for the period.

Matthew Falk, operations manager at Glass Door said:

Support from The Felix Project this Winter has been invaluable.

Working with The Felix Project, restaurant brand Hakkasan Group launched their own 12 Days of Christmas charity campaign which saw them deliver 5,000 meals to frontline charities, including 1,200 to Glass Door alone in the run up to Christmas. Hostel staff reported that the food, which included warming dishes such as shepherd’s pie, soups and roast beef, was delicious and enjoyed by all.

On Christmas Eve, The Felix Project organised a special delivery of luxury food and ingredients from Fortnum & Mason to homeless shelters in London, including our hostels. They were joined by Chelsea footballer Reece James and The Felix Project’s founder Justin Byam Shaw. This story was covered by The Independent and London Evening Standard.

Glass Door’s hostel project manager Bruce Marquart told Evening Standard:

We are fighting two wars at the same time. One against homelessness and one against this terrible virus.

When asked about the Christmas Eve food delivery, a guest at one of our hostels said:

[The] food is amazing, tasty and fresh. I feel blessed having tonight’s meal in spite of the current pandemic restrictions. I am still able to enjoy this wonderful meal.

Thank you

At of the end of 2020, more than 120 individuals have stayed at least one night in the hostel project.

“Once a guest’s basic needs are met and they no longer have to worry about finding a safe place to stay or a meal each day, they can focus on getting their life back on track and moving beyond homelessness,” says Glass Door CEO Lucy Abraham. She adds: 

Our focus is now on making sure these guests have the best chance of building a life beyond homelessness.

The project is supported by donations and grants from several funders including the COVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund. On behalf of all the people who have found safe shelter, nourishment and support in our hostels this winter, we would like to thank all the organisations and supporters who have helped make this service possible.

Here are some ways you can support Glass Door and move closer to a future where no one has to sleep on the streets of London.