Govia Thameslink Railway is partnering with local charities again this winter to support homeless people and break the stigma associated with homelessness.
Launched this week, The Great Sock Appeal is back again after over 4,100 pairs of socks were donated by passengers and staff last year.
Socks are essential for those sleeping rough and help keep feet warm and dry. The risk of blisters and fungal infections is higher without a good pair of socks.
This year, the campaign has moved online due to the pandemic, as there are far fewer passengers travelling on the network. Govia Thameslink is hoping to raise enough money to match the number of socks donated last year. The appeal will run until Friday the 11th December and you can donate via their Crowdfunder page here.
Allen Howe who is now a Senior Contracts Manager at Govia Thameslink Railway, has spoken about his experience of being homeless and hopes it will help break the stigma of homelessness.
Allen says, “I know all too well the hardship and danger facing homeless people this winter, having spent many months on the streets myself after suffering abuse as a child and being forced out by my stepmother soon after my 16th birthday.
“Although I could’ve easily just given up, I knew I had to keep on pushing to try and get myself out of the situation. I went on to spend 14 and a half years working for the local council developing initiatives to support the homeless, as well as later working for the NHS before moving to GTR. I have turned my life around and now have two daughters that I absolutely adore. Don’t be too proud to ask for help – there are ways to get you out of whatever situation you may be facing.”
Allen continues: “There’s a huge stigma around being homeless. People often think it’s related to drugs or alcohol – or that you’ve done something to get yourself there. The average person doesn’t realise that if you miss just three mortgage payments, you too could find yourself on the streets. There were many times I felt like giving up, but if you do then you’ll never experience the positive side of life.”
Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR said: “Through our work last year with our regional charity partners we’ve learnt just how much difference it makes to provide a new pair of socks and keep feet warm and dry. This year charitable donations are more important than ever before as we see our homelessness crisis worsen due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Christmas is a time for giving, and all it takes is one pair of socks, less than the price of a coffee, to improve the life of a homeless person this winter. We want to thank our customers, colleagues and local communities for their wonderful support for those in need.”
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