Trustees Report 2021
The London and Slough Run (LASR) had a very busy year in 2021. The Charity partnered with British Land in July 2021 and were granted the use of Duke’s House in central Slough as a large central location to move operations to. The lease is over three years and is rent free. We are very grateful to St Joseph’s Gerrard’s Cross for the use of their social club and Church hall during 2020/21. The property at Dukes house has enabled LASR to expand its food share activity. Surplus food is collected daily from a number of local supermarkets and then packaged ready for immediate distribution to over a dozen local Charities. Development of the food share program started at the outset of the pandemic and has been very successful. LASR Trustee Malcolm Johnstone was awarded the High Sheriff of Berkshire’s volunteer award 2021.
LASR did not operate a Night shelter in 2021 because of the difficulty with Covid restrictions and because numbers of rough sleepers were much lower than normal. This was due in large part to the success of the government’s “Everyone in” scheme in 2020 which had helped to house a number of rough sleepers in Slough. Those who were in need were offered Hotel and B&B accommodation.
LASR continue to operate a weekly soup run to London Waterloo and Temple feeding up to 250 people a night. This is undertaken by a long standing and dedicated volunteer team of sandwich makers, packers and ‘Runners’ based at St Joseph’s Gerrard’s Cross and all precautions are employed to ensure a Covid secure service is in place.
LASR had leased two properties in Slough which accommodated 6 rough sleepers. LASR took care of all household bills and supply of food to those accommodated and helped with finding employment and private accommodation. The leases came to an end in November 2021 with the final two occupants being housed elsewhere with the help of SBC’s outreach team.
The Trustees agreed to finance a new website for LASR as the existing hosting platform is now outdated and proving difficult to use. Our social media presence is growing and all felt it would be prudent to invest in a new website to promote the charity, share news, events, volunteer opportunities, donation links and more.
LASR partnered with Rotary Club of Windsor St George to organise a fundraising Christmas Carol Service at the chapel in Eton College, in December. This special event was to be hosted by Gloria Hunniford with Sue Holderness and The Carice Singers – unfortunately due to the exponential spread of the Omicron variant of Covid in the week to 18th Dec, the organising team felt they had no option but to cancel the event. Thankfully most of the sponsors and advertisers and some ticket holders donated their monies and as a result, LASR received £3,000. Plans are underway to secure a date in Dec 2022 to hopefully run the event again.
2021 saw the resignations of three Trustees, Brian Kearney, Neil McCathie and longstanding Trustee Philip Highy, who has worked tirelessly for the charity and provided an essential connection to Eton College, who have been a historical supporter of LASR. After 10 years as Chairman, John Power decided to step down due to work commitments. John had been instrumental in setting up the successful Winter Night Shelter which had been running for 5 years before the pandemic. John has agreed to remain as a volunteer for LASR, his dedication, tenacity, networking skills, good humour and general excellence in managing the Board will be greatly missed. John Goudie, a long standing volunteer and Trustee has agreed to step in and manage this role for the next six months.
Many thanks to Deanway United Church, Readypower Group, Hamptons Windsor, Leagold Miller, British Airways, Waitrose Gerrards Cross, Slough Baptist Church, Chalfonts Beekeepe, Leo Kedde, GX Furniture Mart, Suzy B Pilates, Burnham Lane Fish and Chips, Sainsburys Neighbourly Fund, Caldicott and Maltman’s schools together with The Catholic Women’s League and the many more who donated during the year.
The foodshare and soup runs involve many local volunteers from Christ the Worker C of E Langley, St Augustine’s RC Datchet, St Josephs Catholic Church, Gerrards Cross, Slough Baptist Church, Holy Family RC Langley, St Mary’s C of E Datchet, St George’s C of E Britwell , St Andrews Methodist Church, Our Lady of Peace RC Burnham, the Masjid Al-Jannah and Slough Central Mosques. The Trustees continue to be very grateful to all of them for their selfless and tireless work in support of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society.
On behalf of the London and Slough Run by order of the Trustees,
A pdf version of this report is available here: Trustees report 2021.
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The London & Slough Run is a UK registered charity, number 1000331