Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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April – May 2024 : Compassion READ ONLINE


Soup run-in with the law

April 02 2010

I don't apologise for taking the issue of homelessness personally. As founder of a UK-registered charity which has engaged homeless and vulnerable people in the Victoria area for over two and a half years, I have witnessed positive and meaningful results, such as housing nine homeless people within the last six months and working in partnership with King George Hostel, a building-based service that sings from the same songsheet.

I am aggrieved by the rhetoric about the supposed 'ineffectiveness' of the soup runs that have been operating in the Victoria area for decades. It sets my teeth on edge, especially when espoused by professionals and community leaders whose only knowledge of the homeless is from an armchair.

In the minutes of the last Soup Run Forum, I stumbled upon a sickly phrase used by a tenants association near Westminster Cathedral: compassion fatigue. Come on! What these cute words imply is: compassion for the homeless can go somewhere else as we are fatigued by the blight of their presence and by the Soup Runs that operate in our neck of the woods.

Streetlytes will adhere to what we do. There are ramifications to opposing these powerful and affluent individuals, and we clearly see the elephant in room. Our last street outreach at Howick Place will be Saturday, 20 March, even though at present we are within our legal rights to be there. Streetlytes will not put any homeless or vulnerable person in jeopardy of being given a dispersal order or an ASBO, so we will be doing outreach in another location.

Streetlytes is here for the long haul and we will continue to make a profound and meaningful difference in the lives of the. I have copied in all concerned as I believe in transparency - and in letting this issue consume its own oxygen and move toward the lyte.

Rudi Richardson

CEO, Streetlytes UK


We're looking into the legal use of 'dispersal notices', which Sergeant Richard Bunch, of Westminster Safer Neighbourhoods Team, mentioned at the latest Soup Run Forum.

In the minutes, dated 8 March, he was recorded as saying that he had recently served 12 dispersal notices. We've looked into these on page 9 (In the zone). We thought that the dispersal zone that was in affect around Westminster Cathedral had expired, but it appears to have remained in force.

Dispersal zones should be a worry to our readership. Although they are in place ostensibly to prevent antisocial behaviour, they can be used to move on rough sleepers. We'd like to map their use across the capital in a future issue. Because they are put in place by local authorities, we're worried that their coverage across London may be quite extensive without anyone realising it. An illustration of their individual size is a dispersal zone that was running in the City until December (pictured).