Wimbledon serves up towels for people who are homeless

Towels that may have wiped the brows of tennis aces such as Andy Murray and Johanna Konta at The Championships, Wimbledon, this year will instead be used by people affected by homelessness.

This year’s Championships, originally scheduled to run until 12 July, were cancelled for the first time since World War Two due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the famous towels that would have been used on court by the world’s top tennis players won’t be going to waste. Crisis will distributing 2,400 of them to people who access their services, including those who have been housed during the pandemic, who often lack basic household items most of us take for granted.

Prized as collector’s items and a top-selling product in The Wimbledon Shop year after year, the official Wimbledon towels combine the famous purple and green livery for the classic design, while this year’s seasonal design features a blue on blue colour scheme.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “We are very grateful to The All England Lawn Tennis Club and the Wimbledon Foundation for donating these iconic towels. Generosity like this goes a long way, giving our clients a unique slice of history and letting them know people are thinking of them.

“As we help people into secure homes of their own, essential items like towels mean they have what they need as they settle in and begin to rebuild their lives.

“Everyone should have the security and dignity of a home. The pandemic shown us all just how important that is. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of individuals and companies wanting to do whatever they can to help people affected by homelessness, especially at this difficult time.”

Helen Parker, Head of the Wimbledon Foundation said, “Following the cancellation of The Championships, the Wimbledon Foundation has been working together with The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships to use our collective resources to support the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts across society.

Through our Coronavirus Fund we are supporting a number of homelessness charities in London and are pleased to be able to help Crisis by donating a quantity of Championships towels to assist their efforts to support some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

Crisis has decades of experience working with people who are homeless, providing one-to one support to help rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

The charity quickly adapted its services during the pandemic to meet people’s immediate needs in these challenging times, providing phones with credit to people experiencing homelessness so that they can continue to receive coaching, advice and wellbeing support. Frontline staff have also been delivering care packages with food, tissues and hand sanitiser.

Crisis has recently launched Home for All, a campaign to make sure that everyone across Great Britain has the security of a safe and settled home. They are calling on the public to support them in helping people who have been housed temporarily during the coronavirus outbreak to find secure homes.

The campaign is also urging the government to ensure that, once emergency measures which have seen thousands of people given temporary accommodation and many more prevented from becoming homeless are eased, people do not return to homelessness.