The Mayor of Lewisham has thanked residents after they donated more than £17,000 to his winter appeal to support two local charities.  

The money will go to the 999 Club and Lewisham Foodbank.  

In Lewisham, one third of children are growing up in poverty and pressure on front line services is increasing.   

Based in Deptford, where child poverty is at nearly 50 per cent, the 999 club supports people who are rough sleeping, otherwise homeless, are vulnerably housed, or living in temporary accommodation.  

One in 43 people in the borough is experiencing homelessness – the 12th highest rate in country – while the charity estimates 50 people are rough sleeping.   

The 999 Club provides The Gateway every morning from Monday to Friday, where people can get breakfast, a hot shower, do their laundry, get advice on benefits and getting work, and use computers for job searches.   

It offers help with CVs, health advice, and can link people with a GP if they need medical attention; it holds classes on IT, literacy and drama.  

And for the first time the night shelter has been able to stay open year-round, thanks to the Government’s Rough Sleepers Initiative, which granted the charity £191,000 in funding.  

But this funding is only guaranteed until March – if it is not renewed the charity won’t  be able to keep the night shelter open year-round.   

Established in 2012, Lewisham foodbank provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to us them in crisis.   

There has been a 20 per cent increase in usage in the borough over the past year – the number of food parcels given out rises year on year. 

Speaking at Wednesday’s council meeting (January 23), Mayor Damien Egan revealed the news: “I want to say thank you to everyone who either donated or shared on social media the news about the winter appeal.  

“Over that winter appeal, thanks to the generosity of local residents, we raised over £17,000 – it’s been very well received.”