Abbey supports The Passage to prevent street homelessness

Friday, 10th May 2024

The Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle wearing an apron and serving potatoes

Westminster Abbey has donated £500,000 to leading homelessness charity The Passage to support their innovative homelessness prevention scheme, No Night Out.

The donation has been made possible thanks to the Abbey’s recovering visitor numbers following the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing it to off substantial support one of its longest-standing charity partners.

Preventing street homelessness

For over 40 years, The Passage has played a pivotal role in supporting those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in London. Working in the heart of Westminster as a close neighbour to the Abbey, it offers its service users the resources to prevent and end their homelessness for good, including routes to employment, benefits, and stable accommodation.

The No Night Out scheme was developed following the pandemic when The Passage identified an effective working model – moving people into emergency accommodation during the ‘Everyone In’ initiative. For those who are at risk of spending their first night on the streets, The Passage offers temporary accommodation whilst their Resettlement Teams work to provide tailored, one-to-one support to move them into safe and sustainable housing.

In its first twelve months, the scheme has prevented 196 people from spending a first night on the streets. The Abbey donation will help The Passage to further grow and develop No Night Out, supporting more people into a sustainable tenancy over the next two years.

The partnership will not only enable The Passage to continue its vital work but will also help it to promote best practice across London, with The Passage working closely with the Mayor of London's office, local authorities, and charitable organisations to encourage others to adopt the No Night Out approach.

Outcomes from the project will also be shared with Prince William and the Royal Foundation's Homewards programme – to which The Passage is a sector partner – with training and advice provided to each of the Homewards locations across the UK.

Watch: The Dean visits The Passage

A lasting legacy

Visiting The Passage’s resource centre yesterday (Thursday 9th May), the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said:


‘It is a privilege to be able to support the focussed and dedicated work that is done by The Passage.Homelessness plunges too many people into crisis and anxiety too often.Here is a project that will make the difference that is needed’.


Mick Clarke, Chief Executive of The Passage, said:


‘The Passage is immensely grateful to Westminster Abbey for their incredibly generous donation as well as their ongoing commitment to our vital work. In 21st century Britain, nobody should ever have to spend a night on the streets.
At a time when the number of people who are becoming street homeless is continuing to rise in all parts of the UK and most acutely here in the capital, our partnership with the Abbey and their support for our ground-breaking No Night Out scheme will help The Passage to give hope to those who thought all hope was lost.’

Working with marginalised communities

Westminster Abbey is committed to an active programme of social engagement, working with marginalised communities locally, nationally and internationally.

This commitment has seen the Abbey and The Passage work together closely over a number of years. Abbey staff have volunteered at the charity’s resource centre, and Passage clients are regularly welcomed on visits to the Abbey. A fundraising carol service and a summer garden party are also held at the Abbey each year.

Among other social engagement initiatives, the Abbey supported visits for 743 young people and 569 adults in the last financial year, working with groups such as Scouts and Guides, children's centres, youth groups, refugee groups and The Prince's Trust. A new charity is also named each month to be recipients of collections taken at services. The charities chosen align with the Abbey's grant-making policy and social engagement work.

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