Anne-Marie Duff, Anneka Rice, Cliff Parisi and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù help Crisis welcome people experiencing homelessness to its Christmas centres
Crisis opens its Christmas services as it prepares to support over 7,000 people experiencing homelessness across Great Britain – including nearly 600 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in London
Today (Thursday 21 December), actor Anne-Marie Duff (Bad Sisters and His Dark Materials), broadcaster Anneka Rice (Challenge Anneka), actor Cliff Parisi (EastEnders and Call the Midwife) and actor Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù (Gangs of London and Mr Malcolm’s List) joined national homelessness charity Crisis, as the organisation opens its Christmas services for people facing homelessness.
The celebrity volunteers attended one of the three hotels that Crisis has taken over in the capital for a two-week period. The hotels will support people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, providing them with their own room, companionship and access to Crisis’ year-round services to help them build a life beyond homelessness.
This comes as new research from Crisis finds that seven in ten people say that sleeping rough left them feeling invisible. In a new survey of people sleeping on the streets, 80% of respondents reported that sleeping rough meant it was harder to meet their most basic needs, such as being able to find food, keep themselves clean and find somewhere safe to sleep.
The group of stars spent the day volunteering alongside the hundreds of volunteers that help to run Crisis at Christmas. They welcomed guests to the hotel, serving hot drinks and food, playing games and chatting with guests.
As well as the three hotels, Crisis will also be opening day centres across the capital which will enable over 2,100 people living in insecure accommodation, such as hostels and B&Bs to access all the support and services Crisis at Christmas has to offer. This includes hot meals, health and wellbeing services such as GPs, opticians and hairdressers, and specialist advice on benefits and housing. Crucially, guests are also connected into Crisis’ year-round services to help them leave homelessness behind for good.
Crisis at Christmas is run by thousands of volunteers, with people up and down Great Britain giving up their time over the festive period to ensure guests can access vital support and services. The hotels and day centres in London form part of the nationwide services the charity will be running over the festive period, which combined will be supporting over 7,000 people facing homelessness this Christmas.
Actor Anne-Marie Duff said: “I’m so pleased to have been able to volunteer with Crisis this morning – it’s been great to get involved and welcome guests to the hotel as they start their journey out of homelessness. Crisis at Christmas truly is a mammoth effort, and I’ve been amazed by the compassion that all of the volunteers and staff show towards helping each and every guest settle in.
“Homelessness is devastating, and services like Crisis at Christmas play a pivotal part in helping people leave homelessness behind for good. If you can, please support Crisis this Christmas to help them continue to be there for people at one of the toughest times of year and beyond.”
Matt Downie, Chief Executive at Crisis, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Anne-Marie and all of the celebrities who joined us today to volunteer and make Christmas a special time for our guests. All of our services are completely volunteer run. Simply put, we wouldn’t be able to support so many people this Christmas if it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity shown by each and every volunteer – they really do play a crucial role.
“No one should ever experience not having a home but at Christmas it’s especially tough. All our guests will be provided with hot food, entertainment and companionship, as well as being connected to our year-round services to help them rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.”
To support Crisis this Christmas visit: www.crisis.org.uk/donate