Past Events

The City Circle is an open circle for open minds

Helping the homeless: No nights sleeping rough

Title: Helping the homeless: No nights sleeping rough

Speakers: Samia Khalid, Saba Zaman

Date: Friday 28 October 2016

Time: 18:45-20:30

Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, Marylebone, London W1H 4LP

Event details:

As winter approaches and the number of homeless people rises, it is important to consider what more we can do to help the homeless and make a difference.

Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded in society. During 2015/16 over 8000 people slept rough on the streets of London, a number that has more than doubled in the last five years and nearly tripled in the last 10 years. The effects of benefit cuts, the housing crisis, increased migration, and cuts in funding to vital services have all contributed to this sharp increase. 

People don’t choose to be homeless – they usually find themselves sleeping on the streets following a major crisis such as relationship breakdown, redundancy, substance misuse, mental illness or domestic abuse. With no support system, they can end up with no alternative. And there are serious consequences – the average life expectancy for a homeless person is just 47, they are 13 times more likely to be victims of violent crime and 35 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person.

Once a person becomes homeless they find themselves to be on the fringes of society and it can be extremely difficult to return to a routine of secure employment and housing. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has committed to not only helping rough sleepers but also to preventing people becoming homeless in the first place with the recent launch of a new taskforce. The issue is a priority on the agenda, not just for the Mayor but also for the government. 

The City Circle is proud to have been helping those in need for a number of years, partnering in two homeless projects - with Children of Adam and with St. James’ Church, Piccadilly. At this talk, we will discuss the vital work that we are doing through the two partnerships and provide details on how you can get involved. 

Additional details:

Free entrance. All welcome. Prayer space available. Street parking free from 18:30. Doors open at 18:45 and the talk begins at 19:00. If you have any questions, please contact the event organiser on


Samia Khalid is a Project Manager for the City Circle Homeless Project, which, in collaboration with the Children of Adam group, provides over 150 homeless people in Central London with food, drink and clothing weekly. She is passionate about community engagement and social activism, and is a volunteer with a variety of projects. Her focus is mainly on homelessness in London, mentoring and tutoring young people.  After volunteering at Children of Adam for over three years, she was asked to head the City Circle Homeless Project. She also previously taught GCSE Maths at the City Circle Saturday School.

Saba Zaman is an award-winning radio journalist, making documentaries which raise important religious, ethical and moral issues, for the BBC and other major outlets. She has been an active supporter of City Circle for over a decade, and helped establish a partnership between the City Circle and St James's Church, Piccadilly. In 2015, she joined the City Circle Winter Shelter volunteering team, and co-organised the first ever church iftar, attended by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Debbie O'Brien is the coordinator for the winter shelter at St James's Church, Piccadilly which is about to enter its seventh year and really enjoys sharing this experience with the other thirteen coordinators of venues across Westminster. In normal life she is a fundraiser for a charity working with people who are homeless and in recovery from addiction, has brought up three children to be fabulous adults. In addition, she loves living in East London, offering hospitality, cooking Palestinian food, and going away on silent retreats to make space to listen and discern living whilst finding new experiences with age.