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Govia Thameslink Railway's Great Sock Appeal collects over 4,000 socks

Press release   •   Dec 11, 2019 15:31 GMT

Sock collections took place across the Govia Thameslink Railway network

More than 4,170 pairs of socks were donated at stations across the Govia Thameslink Railway network on Thursday 5th December, to support six key homeless shelters across the route.

Sock collections took place at train stations across the network, as selected homeless charities and Govia Thameslink Railway – the UK’s largest rail network – joined forces to give those sleeping rough a new pair of socks over the festive period.

As part of the rail operator’s commitment to support homelessness initiatives in local communities, GTR volunteers held the festive collections at eight stations across the network, as well as teams collecting at offices and depots across the network.

The generous turnout saw over 4,170 pairs of socks collected for selected regional charities. Often overlooked as an unimportant item, for those sleeping rough, a pair of socks is essential for keeping feet warm and dry. Without them, there is a great risk of blisters, fungal infections and even trench foot.

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at GTR, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the response and support for the activity and want to thank our customers and colleagues for their generous donations. This is the first year for the Great Sock Appeal and overall, we collected in excess of 4,170 pairs of socks. We are thrilled to have been able to support such a worthy cause during the cold winter period.”

Jim O’Connor, Chief Executive of GTR charity partner, NOAH Enterprise said; “On behalf of the people who are homeless and, in too many cases, rough sleeping this Christmas, we at NOAH Enterprise say thank you to GTR’s customers for their generosity and kindness in donation over 4,000 pairs of socks for the use and comfort of people living on the streets. Our thanks go equally to Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and all of their staff for making possible this tremendous and warming gesture.

“Wishing you and all GTR travellers a very Happy Christmas – you have contributed to making it so for others who have so little.”

GTR worked also with national homeless charity St Mungos to help identify local shelters and charities across the route to benefit from the network-wide collections, with a total of 4,172 pairs of socks collected at the 8 stations on 5 December and through staff donations.

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS

Participating charities and stations:

  • Bedford – NOAH Enterprise
  • Luton – NOAH Enterprise
  • St Albans – Centre 33
  • Stevenage – Helping Herts Homeless
  • Royston – Helping Herts Homeless
  • Blackfriars – The Connection at St Martins
  • East Croydon – Spire
  • Brighton – Brighton Housing Trust

About NOAH Enterprise:

Luton based NOAH Enterprise, runs a welfare centre all year round and provides hot meals to people who have fallen on hard times. In the last year, NOAH has received 435 new referrals, provided 16,273 lunches, 6,111 breakfasts and 7.472 soups. Find out more at www.noahenterprise.org

Jim O’Connor, Chief Executive of GTR charity partner, NOAH Enterprise said; “On behalf of the people who are homeless and, in too many cases, rough sleeping this Christmas, we at NOAH Enterprise say thank you to GTR’s customers for their generosity and kindness in donation over 4,000 pairs of socks for the use and comfort of people living on the streets. Our thanks go equally to Thameslink, Southern, Great Northern and all of their staff for making possible this tremendous and warming gesture.

“Wishing you and all GTR travellers a very Happy Christmas – you have contributed to making it so for others who have so little.”

About Centre 33

Centre 33 is a drop-in centre for anyone in the St Albans area who is homeless or otherwise socially or materially deprived. It provides a warm welcome, hot meals and drinks, shower facilities, some second-hand clothes and sleeping bags. Find out more at www.centre33.org/

Centre 33 Chairman, Colin Simmonds said; “We are delighted with the collection we received in St Albans and are very grateful to Govia Thameslink and all those commuters in St Albans who donated to the collection. The collection will keep those in most need in St Albans supplied with warm socks for a good number of weeks during this cold period of the year.”

Helping Herts Homeless

Working with other agencies, it aims to support the provision of emergency accommodation and other support services to anyone in Hertfordshire who has become homeless or is at risk of homelessness. Find out more at http://helpinghertshomeless.org.uk/

The Connection at St Martins

The connection is central London’s homelessness charity and helps thousands of people each year to recover from the trauma of homelessness – providing around the clock emergency relief and long-term support leading to housing, work and independence. Find out more at www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk/

Anna Norton, Engagement & Assessment Manager at Connection at St Martin’s said; “We are absolutely thrilled by the kindness of the public donating to the Sock Appeal. We see around 200 people every day and socks are in high demand at the centre, especially over the Winter period when it is so important to keep feet warm and dry. Your donations will ensure that we can keep a supply for months to come! From everyone here, thank you and we wish you a wonderful Christmas.”

East Croydon

Spire is an innovative and forward thinking charity that aims to offer support to those who are in a state of need across South London. The Spires Centre has been working with homeless and disadvantaged people from Merton, Wandsworth and Lambeth for 30 years. Their primary aim is to help people move from a life on the streets to a viable, independent life with sustainable work. Find out more at www.spires.org.uk/

Nigel Carpenter, Chief Executive of The Spires Centre said; “Some of our service users come to us for breakfast and a shower and put back on the same socks they have worn for a fortnight and then back on with trainers. However, the generosity of East Croydon commuters and staff means our service users will have clean fresh warm socks on the cold winter nights to come. Thanks to everyone at East Croydon, Spires service users can look forward to warm and clean feet this Christmas.”

Brighton Housing Trust

Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) is a local charity supporting homeless people across Sussex. Over the last five decades they have helped thousands of people to secure safe accommodation, overcome barriers to work and learning and address issues such as addiction, poverty and mental health. Find out more at www.bht.org.uk/

Brighton Housing Trust, fundraising manager, Lauren Ellis said; “We are thrilled with the success of The Great Sock Appeal, and were able to donate 430 pairs of socks to our First Base day centre which supports people who are rough sleeping or vulnerably housed in Brighton and Hove. Huge thanks to GTR rail for their support and also to every single commuter who donated this December!”

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

GTR is the most punctual of the large and complex operators in UK rail according to the latest 'On Time' statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road for the 12 months to 30 September 2019, and fourth of all train operators in the UK.

www.southernrailway.comwww.thameslinkrailway.comwww.gatwickexpress.comwww.greatnorthernrail.com