On the evening of Friday 11th March, two Savoo troopers pounded the pavements of London in support of our charity partner, The Big Issue Foundation. Yes, these volunteering ninjas agreed to take part in the 2016 Big London Night Walk to help raise funds and awareness for this incredible homeless charity.
Adam and Flora traded a Friday night pub crawl for a 12-mile stomp around central London with 300 other supporters, volunteers and vendors; flying the flag for homelessness in the capital between 9pm and 3:30am.
Here’s their account of their Big London Night Walk experience, first-hand.
We gathered at St John’s Church in Waterloo at 8:30pm and were treated to tea, coffee, cookies and choir music; accompanied by an introductory presentation from Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue Foundation.
We learned from Stephen that levels of homelessness have doubled in the last 5 years and that on one night in Autumn 2015 there were 27% more people rough sleeping in London than there were on the same night in 2014. We also found out more about the significance of the Big london Night Walk and how the idea first came about:
“People experiencing homelessness often feel scared and unsafe at night, so they walk. They walk to keep warm, to stay in well-lit areas and so that they can sleep in the day.”
So the Big London Night Walk is about more than fundraising and awareness; it is also a show of solidarity.
The intro concluded with two very inspirational speeches from Eggheads panellist, CJ de Mooi (who was once himself homeless having fled a highly abusive childhood), and James Bowen, author of “A Street Cat Named Bob” (James was a former Big Issue vendor himself and a recovering heroin addict – pictured below).
Then, with a new-found perspective on the larger issue of homelessness in the UK and determination to help this fantastic charity make a real difference, we hit the streets for the start of what was about to be a six-and-a-half hour walk.
The atmosphere was electric and all groups were buzzing to get started.
We walked from Waterloo to Vauxhall, then to Pimlico and up to Tottenham Court Road before our next refuel at The Samaritans HQ. Starbucks kindly donated coffee and tea.
No rest for the wicked – it was on to the next leg of our journey. Up through Holborn and towards Angel before our next stop at St James for another refuel and interestingly, a poem recital from another fantastic supporter. What was really overwhelming throughout the walk was just how many huge companies and individuals made the Big London Night Walk possible by giving up their time or offering whatever they could to help.
The final stint of the journey was through Hoxton and Shoreditch, down to Barbican and via St Pauls and Mansion House before returning to the South Bank.
Here’s how our round-trip looked on the map…
We were absolutely exhausted but even our blistered feet and aching limbs couldn’t ruin what was undeniably a fantastic experience; an educational experience and a chance to feel part of a determined community of campaigners looking to make life for people on the streets just that little bit easier.
100% of all entry fee donations from walkers and supporters went towards helping end homelessness.