Robes January Update 2019

Shelter Update
Because of the wonderful commitement of all Robes partnering Churches, volunteers and other centres, the Robes Project has given shelter to more than 80 guests so far.  We have had full house of 35 guests most of the time.

There are many great results and progressive steps some of these are:

Currently in employment 16
Private rented accommodation 10
Help with applying for ID 5
Training 1
Shoes for Guest working towards employment
There are many more amazing results we will share in our next update

Sleepout Update 2018
Thank you to every single supporter of the 2018 SleepOut,  so far we have raised £68,647 has been raised so far.

Robes Project would like to visit as many churches and congregations to thank and update them about the work:
Robes would like to offer a short talk to all the churches that host shelters to update the congregations about how things are going and to thank you for all your support and involvement.  If you would like a talk in your church could you please contact Nicholas Faraday:

Guest Success Stories
Just after Christmas we were able to house one of the first guests who was in ‘Robes Project’ this was in November. His recovery from homelessness is just beginning. He came to the UK 30 years ago after an entrepreneurial countryman spotted his craft skills in shoemaking. He promised the young man’s mother that her son would have a bright future if she agreed to let him make designer shoes for him in the UK.

Consequently he arranged for travel and border entry and provided him with the means to work in the UK. Many celebrities were among the clientele and the entrepreneur made a big name for himself. After many years the business was sold the entrepreneur moved on, leaving his protégé stranded.

It was extraordinary that this man never learned English, leading us to assume that he did not understand how the dependence the employer had nurtured in him had left him ill prepared for the future.

Now, 30 years on, both his parents have passed on and he is too ashamed to return to his country to face younger brothers and sisters who held high hopes for him.

So, home is now a hostel and he is going to regular English Classes to learn English at last and when he is not at an English class, he is “job seeking” work in the capital as a kitchen porter.

As for his former vocation, he says all he needs is one or two designer commissions.

If I could wave a magic wand it would be to find a celebrity who would commission and model a pair of his designer shoes from him. With a bit of social media exposure and hash tags in the right circles, who knows, he could be a big hit?

In Remembrance
Friends of Robes will fondly remember Les Acklam who recently died after a period of poor health. As a team leader at St Johns Waterloo he encouraged volunteers from other faiths and walks of life to join his team to run a night shelter. Guests appreciated his warmth and friendliness at St Johns Waterloo, helping to bring a bit of levity during the bleakest times of the year.

During summer months, Les helped Robes in the early days of setting up the weekly Wednesday Lunch Club which now runs all year round. He regularly visited the old venue at Crossway United Reformed Church (now demolished) spending time with guests in the centre and going on the planned outings such as the first outing to visit the Sky Garden.

There will be a funeral service for Les Acklam on Wednesday 13th February at 2pm at St Oswald’s Church Norbury to which all are welcome. This will be followed by a private service for family only.

A Big Thank You
A Big Thank You to Peter, the Pastor of Crossway United Reform Churhc for partnering with Robes and providing a great place for the Wednesday club.

I came in this morning and received your greetings, thank you so much for your good wishes and kindness.  I know that the Grantham Church where I am going has a relationship with the local homeless project so I hope to continue my support for the work moving forward.

Every blessing to you all
Peter, Crossway

The Robes Project will continue to partner with the United Reform Church and its congregation on this project.

Request for Office Volunteers
Robes is looking for 2 volunteers who would like to come into the office 2 days a month to help with various things these range from:
Working with social media
Helping to sort out the Robes Storage Cupboards
Basic admin duties
First Aid Packs
Toiletry Packs
Helping with planning small events
If you would like to get involved please contact:

Please continue to support Robes Project and the invaluable work the community is doing to empower and support the homeless by clicking here or
Robes Project
The Cooperative Bank
Account number: 65842999
Sort Code: 08 92 99

First Time Hosting for St John's East Dulwich

There were a lot of questions we had at St John’s East Dulwich when we agreed to host the Robes Project on Saturday nights from January to March. We knew the Goose Green Centre – attached to the church – could be used to accommodate 20 or so people overnight, but no one could recall that it had ever done so. Would the central heating cope? Would we get enough volunteers? Would we be able to clean the Centre in time for the Sunday School and crèche during the 10am service? Where would we store all the bedding? Would the shower work? (It had only ever been used for watering plants before.)

To reduce the scale of the challenge we agreed to work jointly with the Copleston Centre. we would host for six weeks and they would do so for five weeks with a shared pool of volunteers. Once we had decided to go ahead the response really was overwhelming, within a few days we had already exceeded our target of 30 volunteers, and we would end up with more than 70 from St John’s, Copleston and the Peckham Mosque. Many more people contributed in other ways, such as by donating food and money.

Despite attending training and visiting another venue, we were unsure what to expect on our first night hosting Robes. But everything went smoothly, and before long both guests and volunteers were relaxed and comfortable in their temporary home. Luckily we had space for those guests who just wanted to rest to do so. Others joined us for copious cups of tea (generally with two or three sugars), a chat and activities. One guest taught the Vicar some new card games, another was playing chess with one of our volunteers past lights out (despite a rebuke from the volunteer’s wife), and one – an avid thriller reader – was pleased to be given a signed copy of a new book by one of our parishioners.

Over the six weeks of hosting Robes, we’ve had a lot of fun with the guests and also a few serious conversations. Many of the volunteers have spoken of how enriching they have found the experience, both in terms of being able to provide support and sustenance to the guests, and in learning about some of the challenges beyond our everyday lives. With so many volunteers taking part, it’s also been an opportunity for people to get to know each other better and find a common purpose on a shared project. Even those not directly involved have been quick to ask on a Sunday morning how things went the night before.

It has been hard work at times but everyone involved has found it rewarding and, as many have said, it is exactly the kind of thing we as a Christian community in south London should be doing. We are looking forward to next year!



Register now for Robes SleepOut 2018

Grab your hats and gloves, the Robes sponsored Sleepout 2018 is coming!

We are delighted to announce that we are once again open for registrations for our annual SleepOut. Hosted by Southwark Cathedral, the SleepOut is an opportunity to experience what it might feel like to sleep rough for one night whilst raising funds for Robes. This is our major fundraising event of the year and is crucial to the survival of the charity. As we continue to see more people accessing our services, we hope to be able to develop our offer so as best to support those who need us.

Click  to find out more about taking part!


Robes Ceilidh Event: Thank you to all our volunteers!

On Friday 20th April, Robes Project held a thank you Ceilidh to say thank you to all our volunteers.

It turned out to be the warmest night of the year so far, but that didn’t stop our volunteers from turning out in force to join us for a Ceilidh to say thank you for all the hard work that people had put in over the 2017/2018 shelter season.

The beautiful St John’s Waterloo was filled with the sound of fiddles as our volunteers dared the Dashing White Sergeant and enjoyed some fabulous dinner. We were delighted the following day to hear some great feedback. It was the very least we could do to show our volunteers our appreciate for supporting us through another shelter season.

A very big thank you to all who came and a special thank you to St John’s Waterloo, Eden Caterers, Lindsey Rousseau, Borderline Band and Eve Milner.