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A bloody disgrace – the shocking ignorance that is keeping a Crawley homeless charity…homeless



Photo: Joe Dines

April 2017, several good hearted individuals get together on the High Street and setup Giving Back Crawley. Their objective? To help those who are homeless, in temporary accommodation or who are on low income and cannot afford to feed themselves and their children.

“Something is bloody wrong with all of this.”

Fast forward a year, the charity has become so popular (a sign of just how bad it has become in the town) that they are now in an indoor location and able to provide additional items such as clothes, toiletries and shoes.

They provide snack bags and in emergency situations even sleeping bags but most and foremost they provide an environment where there is no-one judging you, just someone who actually cares.

Photo: Joe Dines

Fast forward another year, back on the streets. Without a location the charity is back to tables and shelter under a small covering outside an estate agents who try their best to help where they can. Balancing food on your lap whilst squatting on the floor is not what these people need. They need help, security and warmth.

But life like this does little to help when surrounded by drunks fresh out of the pubs and imbeciles who think it is funny to abuse someone suffering.

The why’s of the charities homelessness are not relevant, what is important is why after weeks of being back on the streets they have been unable to find a new home despite the hundreds if not thousands of hours they have tried.

Peoples instant reaction is to blame the council, why are they not helping? But when a council has nothing available, and you must remember there is only a small area within the town centre that is suitable, then what are they to do?

As anyone who wanders through the town will know there is a plethora of empty shops, offices, any one of which would be more than suitable and yet none of these landlords seem willing to help, or do they?

With agents the gatekeepers to landlords you have to ask yourself whether the landlords of these empty properties are even aware of the need for a charity to utilise their space – and this is the clincher – they are not asking for the space for free. They WILL pay!

So let’s be clear about the situation. Here is a charity looking to rent a space in the town, a place that has more than enough spaces for them, and no-one is helping. Is this ignorance of the highest order?

Photo: Joe Dines

Now there are factors you have to understand. Agents have to make money like all businesses and the only way they do that is on commission or fees once they have successfully let out a property.

The moment the word ‘charity’ and ‘homeless’ is heard you can almost imagine the rolling eyes and closure of their hearing. Yet they are still happy to allow the property for which they represent to remain empty, derelict, a money pit.

Then there is the worry about the stigma that letting out a property to a homeless charity may give to the neighbouring properties they manage. Would they be able to rent them out or would it turn people off?

“they are not asking for the space for free. They WILL pay!”

Be under no illusion, there is a problem in the town as highlighted recently with news of budgets cuts that would affect other homeless charities such as Open House.

But here is one that is not asking for money from any council, that is looking to help out and without whom would not be able to prevent situations arising that would costs thousands more from the tax payer than any rental agreement would demand. Think of the costs to the NHS and Police if someone gets hypothermia from sleeping in damp clothes in a car park in sub zero conditions as one example.

Something is bloody wrong with all of this.

In an age where image is everything here is an opportunity that is very rare. An opportunity for some bright spark to capture and to run with. An opportunity where they can help and in return get awareness, branding even advertising that any paid campaign could never get because it will capture the hearts of people, see that their is hope and a genuine care for the community.

So if you are an agent or a landlord and have something available in Crawley town centre or not too far from it then why sit around waiting and actually fill the space now, earn money from it and more importantly do what the charity is entitled, Give Back to the town.

You can find more information about Giving Back Crawley at their facebook page here.


Gatwick Express team gives cash boost to Crawley charity

The Gatwick Express team has given a local charity a cash boost following a number of staff fundraising initiatives in recent months.



Maria Cook, Chair of Autism Support Crawley (left) takes delivery of a 'rail ticket cheque' from Gatwick Express managers

Autism Support Crawley, which supports children and adults on the autistic spectrum, has been given a generous donation of £1,931.15 thanks to kind-hearted Gatwick Express staff who have taken part in a series of activities at Gatwick Airport Station, including cake sales, a Christmas jumper competition and bucket appeals.

Station staff were delighted to be able to hand over a cheque to Autism Support Crawley on Tuesday, May 21 to the chairperson of the charity, Maria Cook.

She said:

“We are thrilled to receive such wonderful support from everyone at Gatwick Express.

“Their response to the voluntary work that we do for over 1,200 families across Sussex and Surrey is overwhelming. This will go a long way in helping us to continue to support families and work with lots of different professions to improve understanding, acceptance and inclusion in society,”she added.

Gatwick Express staff were inspired to support the charity after hosting a group from Autism Support Crawley for a ‘Try a Train’ event, during which autistic young people and adults were shown around the station to help them become more familiar and confident when travelling by train, as well as how to buy tickets to support more independent travel.

Gatwick area station manager David Stronell said:

“We’re really proud of all the work we have done to help the charity. The whole station has been involved in the fundraising.

“Since we started supporting the charity, it has sparked a lot of conversations and a lot of staff have talked about having children on the autistic spectrum. It has brought us all together and got people opening up about autism, which in turn has raised awareness for us all,” said David.

Charity trustee, member and service user Charlotte Gover said:

“The amazing donation from Gatwick Express will support so many of our families by enabling us to continue to provide information sessions, conferences, coffee mornings, evening meetings and much needed inclusive family events.”

Staff at Gatwick are now gearing up for their next fundraising events so watch this space!

This month also marks the 35th birthday of Gatwick Express and there have been plenty of activities going on to celebrate the occasion.

For more information, visit:

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