6 Simple Ways To Support The Homeless

Everyone is feeling the pinch right now, and it is often hard to give to charities when times are so tough. During the 2007/2008 recession, charitable giving fell by 11%. The current rise in the cost of living, along with the ever-growing threat of a recession is creating pressure on everyone – families, businesses, and charities. With 17 residents to feed and a huge building to heat, times are tough here at CENS and budgets are stretched to breaking point. Couple that with the fact that demand for our services grow during hard times, and it becomes clear why the future does not look bright.

But we know that the Colchester community always manages to rally around and support us, which is why we feel so grateful being a part of it. So we have come up with 6 simple ways that you can still support your local charity, all of which will all make a huge difference.


Although we don’t have the space to store clothes and bedding, we do always need essential supplies such as tins, packets, jars, washing tabs, tea and coffee. There is a full list on our website here. Groceries are rising in price as we all know, but discount stores often sell in bulk at lower prices – and with 17 residents, bulk is what we need! 


Rather than donating money, why not set up a fundraiser yourself? You can go it alone, or get together with a group of friends or colleagues. We have a heap of fundraising ideas on our website from cake sales to sports challenges, and are happy to support you in any way we can. Whatever you plump for, all our fundraisers say the same thing – it’s rewarding, challenging and above all, fun. 


Raising awareness in your local community about homelessness, its causes and what can be done to help, is hugely important. Educating and sharing your knowledge and passion with your friends, family, classmates and colleagues can have a rollercoaster effect. You really can make change happen.


This really is very simple and costs nothing. Next time you see someone homeless on the streets, don’t walk past. Being kind, saying hello, stopping to chat, simply smiling, or giving some food or a bottle of water all make a big difference. You can also contact Streetlink, who will connect those sleeping rough with local services available.


If you have a skill or a hobby which you would like to share, then get in touch and come along to meet the residents. You could host a class or offer a professional service – haircuts, reflexology, legal advice, employment and personal skills such as CV and letter writing are just a few ideas. We have a private space for counselling and therapy sessions and communal spaces for group sessions and lessons. You never know, your input could be the thing that changes someone’s life.


Fancy cooking for a large group of hungry men and women? We are currently looking for volunteer chefs to help out. Maybe you have green fingers and could tackle the ever-growing weeds in the CENS garden or maybe you are handy with a hammer and a drill. Whatever your passion or interests, we may have just the vacancy.

So, it needn’t cost a fortune and it doesn’t have to be too time consuming. The personal rewards of giving your time and energy to a charity you feel passionate about are endless. To find out more about getting involved click here and a huge thank you to everyone who has helped us out over the years.

CENS Essential Shopping List

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Hot chocolate
  • UHT milk
  • Squash
  • Vgetable oil
  • Gravy granules
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt & pepper
  • Stock cubes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned/packet custard
  • Baked beans
  • Tinned tuna
  • Tinned vegetables & potatoes
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Kidney beans
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Men & women’s deodorant
  • Men’s razors
  • Shave gel
  • Shower gel
  • Toothpaste
  • Cloths
  • Scourers
  • Washing up liquid
  • Surface cleaners
  • Floor cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Bathroom cleaners
  • Bin bags
  • Food caddy liners
  • Loo roll
  • Washing tablets
  • AA batteries
  • NEW single duvets
  • Pillows/pillowcases
  • Single duvet covers/sheets
  • Clean/good condition towels

Please no soups!
Thank you