Rhythms of Life

ABOUT US

HELPING THE HOMELESS,
SAVING LIVES

Homelessness is so much more than being without a permanent home, often those same people don't have a support network of family & friends which makes them very isolated, opening them up to all sorts of potential risks.

This could mean living in unsuitable temporary accommodation such as hostels or sofa-surfing. Eviction from privately rented homes is one of the leading causes of homelessness. Short contracts, unfair evictions, and sky-high rents (especially in London) mean people struggle to keep a roof over their heads.

Despite living in the world’s fifth biggest economy, many people in this country are still living with no place to call their home.

The latest figures found 2,918 people sleeping rough in London between July and September 2021, according to data from the Combined Homelessness And Information Network (Chain). More than half were sleeping rough for the first time and the majority spent just one night on the streets.

Despite living in the world’s fifth biggest economy, many people in this country are still living with no place to call their home.

Andrew Faris, the founder of Rhythms of Life, spent six years living on the streets. He’s been tackling homelessness in London for more than 13 years, ever since he set up the Rhythms of Life organisation in 2008.

The charity, which provides a daily food drop-off for homeless people in central London, with the help of major food retailers such as Whole Foods and Marks & Spencer. Mr Faris shared how during the Pandemic vulnerable people have been travelling all the way from East / South London to central London to receive basic food supplies.

ANDREW FARIS: “I WAS HOMELESS FOR SIX LONG YEARS. WHEN YOU SEE WHAT SERVICES AREN’T BEING PROVIDED, AND YOU CAN MAKE IT BETTER – THEN THAT’S WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.”

Knowing the Homeless

Andrew: "Through the charity's work we have built relationships with our friends on the streets and have got to know their lives and stories well, feeding them 365 days a year with our food supplies."

"When people are queueing for the food, we'll sit with them and make notes to see if they can go on a life skills or an IT course with Rhythms of Life. It's things like that, that we really need additional funding for as we want to have our own home as opposed to the temporary tenancy we currently have. We would love to be in the position to give out more and provide long term solutions for our service users.

"The way we get people off the street is by first making that personal connection by offering them food and a coffee. It is like we're inviting them into our home, and by inviting them into our home, we become a friend who they will listen to and trust."

Problems we are solving

Firstly we help to eliminate homelessness by providing training programs in IT, life skills and English courses which enables our homeless friends to get training in areas they wouldn't have otherwise. From this they are in the position to gain full time employment, provide for themselves and have their own accommodation.

We are eliminating food waste by utilising left over food from major London food outlets. This has saved thousands of tons of food that would have otherwise gone to landfill sites, and enabling us to be more sustainable. We are a grass roots organisation, meaning, we have no Government funding, everyone that is part of the charity is voluntary and unpaid - this is something we are extremely proud of.

Spending cuts on support services for single homeless people in England has meant a reduction of £290m a year on average since 2009, leaving people at risk with “nowhere to turn”.
(BBC, April 2019)

Andrew Faris: "I was homeless for six long years. When you see what services aren't being provided, and you can make it better - then that's what you have to do. I didn't want to just accept what was being done, but try to make some changes myself."

"I didn't understand why a lot of the organisations I was attending in and around London as a homeless person were calling it a day at 1pm. People need help all of the time. Rhythms Of Life is a charity in London that provides food 365 days a year without a day off. Rhythms of Life's ultimate goal is to allocate a premises that can be utilized as a community hub as well as a learning centre. Currently in January 2022 we are in a temporary tenancy and desperately seeking a premises for long term period that we can call our permanent home

“Some big charities have accused us of encouraging people to stay on the streets by serving them on the streets, but that's not our goal. This is just one way of connecting. Employers are unlikely to offer a homeless person a job out of the blue. The way we get people off the street, is by first making that personal connection by offering them food and a coffee. It's almost like we're inviting them into our home, and by inviting them into our home we become a friend who they will trust. This is the first step to building a relationship by having a warm meal and a nice hot cup of tea.

All of this is coming from someone who has been on the streets. I've had my head kicked in when I was asleep. Milkshakes thrown at me, my shoelaces being set on fire, and being hosed by cleaners in the morning - these were my worst times. I can tell the homeless where it's safe to sleep, where to can get a shower and signpost to them where to get help from other services.

The way I do things at Rhythms of Life, comes from experience. I know that if somebody spoke to me when I was homeless, I was then more open to suggestions about getting off the streets.

"I can tell the homeless where it's safe to sleep, where to get a shower and signpost to them where to get help from other services."

Our Standards

All our helpers are voluntary and this is something we are extremely grateful and proud of. All our staff are DBS checked and we adhere to high standards in food hygiene.