Welcome to our new Good Causes feature in which we highlight charities working hard in south-east London and north Kent.

First up, we spoke to the 999 Club, a homeless charity based in Deptford.

Tell us about the work you do?

We provide services for people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. We provide a warm welcome for people who are often ignored, feared or stigmatised.

Our facilities include a 30-bed night shelter, which will open year-round by the end of September to provide emergency accommodation. Experts at our drop-in day centre can advise on housing, accessing benefits and finding work.

There is also a programme of workshops to boost confidence, learn new skills and get qualifications. In addition, guests can see a visiting GP, nurse or other healthcare professional, have a shower, do their laundry and eat a hot meal.

News Shopper:

Have long have you been doing it / how many volunteers do you have?

Founded in 1992 by members of the St Paul’s congregation in Deptford, the 999 Club has significantly expanded its range of services and facilities.

Capacity at our night shelter has tripled this year and for the first time it will be open through the year. We have 13 staff and more than 50 volunteers working at our night shelter and our Gateway Centre drop-in facilities.

News Shopper:

How many people have you helped?

Each week, some 60-70 people access our services at the Gateway Centre. During 2017, 698 people came to this drop-in centre which is the starting point of our other services, and 371 people took part in other activities.

Last year, 65 guests who would otherwise be sleeping rough stayed in emergency accommodation at our night shelter. Half of them were housed directly from the 999 Club and more people found a place to live soon after their stay with us.

News Shopper:

What are the biggest pressures for the charity right now?

We are in the midst of a homelessness crisis, with unprecedented numbers of people sleeping rough. This is partly as a result of the changes to the benefits system, coupled with increasingly unaffordable housing. Many of our clients now are 'working homeless'. They have jobs but simply cannot save enough money for the huge deposits required for private accommodation, or to make the monthly rent payments.

News Shopper:

How can people help or get involved with your charity?

The majority of our income is from fundraising. We work with schools, community groups and local businesses to raise money and educate people about homelessness, run a number of challenge opportunities throughout the year including the London Marathon and RideLondon cycling events, encourage corporate partnerships and of course support individual fundraising activities. People can also make one-off donations or regular payments through our website (www.999club.org). The proceeds of these are crucial to keeping our essential services going.

We also always welcome new volunteers. Opportunities include working evenings or early mornings at our night shelter and mornings at our Gateway drop-in centre as well as undertaking assessments and referrals and leading specialist workshops and activities.