Lifestyle Choices

The unrelenting poison poured into UK society by the current Home Secretary can lead to a sense of numbness and apathy at how she wants to reshape Britain. If you are as appalled as I was by her depiction of homelessness as a “lifestyle choice”, then there is a positive way of pushing back.

Find a local homeless charity or foodbank and bung them some cash - even the smallest amount helps. If you are in a position to do so, add Gift Aid. That way, the Government has to top up your contribution by another 25%!

It is worth doing a little research to find out how a charity raises and spends its money. A quick check in the Charity Commission’s Register of Charities can tell you a lot - do they have a whole load of board members with salaries of more than £60K per year, or are they sitting on an excessive amount of funds? Note, though, that the Charity Commission does consider it good practice to have some reserve funds to provide financial resilience.

Smaller local charities often give more bang for your proffered buck. I recently found that the food bank I had been supporting was sitting on a large bequest, so I switched to supporting Friends of Essex & London Homeless when I can. Their Charity Commission entry says:

We set this charity up to help homeless, vulnerable and people living in poverty in Essex and London by distributing foods, drinks, clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags and we do this by operating 2 soup kitchens weekly and also if anyone needing our help is brought to our attention.

And that is what they do, with minimal overheads and providing regular evidence of their activities on their Facebook page.

If there are multiple ways of donating to a smaller charity, check them all out. I found that it wasn’t possible to add Gift Aid when contributing via their website, but it was an option when helping Friends of Essex & London Homeless via Facebook. Of course, that means keeping a Facebook account, but that is a minor inconvenience if it forces the Government to help people experiencing homelessness, even in a small way.