From Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive: Why the London Charter Matters to Us

The Charter is a way to get people together around a common goal – to end rough sleeping in London.

From Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive: Why the London Charter Matters to Us

At Thames Reach, we believe that no one should need to sleep on the streets, and of course, we support the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping. It’s worth explaining why we think that this is important, and not just a another way for charities that work with people affected by homelessness (including Thames Reach) to speak out around Christmas as the window of public sympathy opens – albeit briefly. 

For us, there are three things that are different about the Charter: 

1. It asks us to recognise that people who sleep rough are people who can’t be defined by their housing situation. 

They all have their own stories, and their homelessness is a part of their story that they and we hope will be in their past.  I’m uncomfortable when people talk about the homeless or rough sleeping ‘community’ as if street homelessness is some sort of quasi village, that is united by a similar backstory, and who we expect to stay on the streets as a way of life.  Equally (depending on your point of view) the idea that homeless people are solely either victims or perpetrators of crime is clearly untrue and serves to exclude them from mainstream society and possibly the protection of the law that the rest of us expect.  

2. The Charter recognises that members of the public aren’t helpless. 

At one level they can donate to and volunteer with charities that work to help people away from the streets; they can use Street Link to make sure people sleeping rough get help; and they can recognise that we don’t have to have street homelessness, which leads to my final point. 

3. At Thames Reach, we aren’t arrogant enough to think that we can end street homelessness on our own. 

This a systemic problem that we believe is bigger than any charity.  While we can join up services and play a significant part- this is a complex issue that needs the mechanism of government at local and national level to work together.  This charter and your support for it makes the difference between government seeing homelessness as a problem that is tolerable, and one that they are under pressure to resolve.  

Please sign the Charter and show that you think that we shouldn’t accept that people needing to sleep on the streets is just the way things are, and show that you believe we can and should do what we need to do to end street homelessness. 

Launching the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

Join us in signing the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping, taking a step towards a London where no one sleeps on the streets.

Launching the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping

In a collaborative effort led by Bloomberg and supported by the Mayor of London, the London Charter to End Rough Sleeping has been officially launched today—7th December 2023.

To mark the launch, our Chief Executive, Bill Tidnam, participated in an event at St John’s Church in Waterloo, to sign the charter alongside the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and representatives from more than 40 organisations.

The Charter aims to unite individuals, businesses, faith groups, charities, and public bodies in the shared mission to eliminate rough sleeping in our city. It represents a public commitment, a pledge to strengthen partnerships, and an opportunity for diverse communities to actively contribute to a solution.

Thames Reach wholeheartedly supports the Charter and had the privilege of being involved in its planning process.

Bill emphasises, “We shouldn’t be prepared to accept that people needing to sleep rough on the streets of London is inevitable. At Thames Reach, we work day and night to help people off the streets and to prevent them from becoming homeless. We can’t do this alone; we need the support of the people and businesses that live and work in London. Please show that you believe that things can be different and sign up for the Charter to End Rough Sleeping in London.

By signing the Charter, individuals, businesses, and organisations make a real impact. It keeps the issue in the spotlight, showing policymakers that many care about ending rough sleeping in London.

Whether you’ve been a committed advocate or are new to the cause, your support goes a long way. Visit the Charter website to sign up, make a pledge, donate, or volunteer. Every small action adds up to the collective effort to end rough sleeping in London.

Thames Reach Endorses Literacy100’s Charter

The Charter outlines a range of expectations to support individuals with experience of homelessness in developing essential literacy skills

Thames Reach Endorses Literacy100’s Charter

Literacy, including digital literacy, is now more critical than ever in enabling people to lead fulfilling lives, as even basic tasks like accessing benefits or communicating with healthcare professionals require a certain level of literacy skills. We know through our own programmes that people coming to us for help with apparently more ‘urgent’ needs such as paying rent or preventing eviction, often struggle with an underlying lack of essential skills including literacy. 

Despite the critical importance of literacy, the need for support isn’t always adequately met within traditional educational settings, particularly in colleges that may not be structured to address the unique challenges of individuals with difficulties or traumas related to learning. 

Literacy100 is a vital organisation addressing the pressing issue that an estimated half of those with experience of homelessness struggle with literacy skills.  

Recognising literacy as a fundamental human right, Thames Reach fully supports Literacy100’s recently published Charter for Adults with Experience of Homelessness. The Charter outlines essential expectations to empower individuals with experience of homelessness through literacy, including: 

– Community Support: Access to local options for developing reading and writing skills and enriching experiences through shared reading activities. 

– Organisational Commitment: Homelessness and housing organisations must recognise and address literacy needs as a core part of their work, providing access to technology for literacy enhancement. 

– Education Support: Learning providers should allocate skilled teachers, flexible provisions, and sustained support for learners with literacy challenges, including specific learning difficulties. 

– Policy Advocacy: National and local policy-makers should prioritise addressing literacy needs and allocate resources accordingly. 

“Not being able to read and write is both a cause and a symptom of homelessness. It is a barrier to recovery and being able to move on with your life after homelessness.  

Our dedicated Employment and Skills team works to help the people who use our services to build these essential skills, but our resources are limited, and this isn’t something we can do on our own.  We need access to dedicated local resources as well as funding to continue to provide the support we do. 

We support the Literacy 100 Charter and call on others to do the same, and to support the people we work with to get the help they need to take control of their lives and participate in society.”

 – Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive at Thames Reach


Join us in championing literacy as a transformative force for individuals with experience of homelessness. Learn more about Literacy100’s Charter and their impactful work by visiting their website.