Staff at C & C Alpha Group have launched a new partnership with The Passage, promising to volunteer their time and raise funds for London’s leading charity for the homeless.

Employees at the company’s headquarters in central London drew up a shortlist of three charities before voting to make The Passage their charity partners for the coming year. The Passage is located nearby, in Westminster, and helps up to 100 homeless people a day at its day centre, as well as operating a 40-bed hostel and 16 studio flats to provide accommodation for rough sleepers.

C & C Alpha Group will sponsor the charity’s summer garden party, held in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, on July 21, which is one of its main fundraising events. It costs more than £4.5million a year to run The Passage and more than 70% of its revenue comes from fundraising.The charity, which was founded in 1980, also relies heavily on an army of more than 400 volunteers who regularly dedicate their time and skills to help at its resource centre or to advise homeless people trying to find employment. Volunteers help serve more than 50,000 meals a year.

C & C Alpha Group’s staff are planning a ‘kitchen takeover’ day, during which they will prepare and serve food for the homeless. They will also be collecting clothing and other items to donate to The Passage and planning monthly fundraising initiatives.

Westminster has the highest number of rough sleepers of any borough in the UK – 1,150 from January- March 2017, a 9% increase on the previous year, according to the CHAIN database. The Passage combines outreach services, offering them immediate help, with long-term support to find them accommodation. It also helps them to claim benefits and employment advice. More than 35,000 visits were made to its Resource Centre in the last year.

Veronica Borkowska, PA to C & C Alpha Group’s Executive Office, said:“We wanted to get involved in a local initiative which would make a real difference to our local community. We see homeless people on our way to and from work and we know they are less privileged than us. They don’t have a house or a job; they are just sitting on the street without even a cup of tea.

“We want to encourage our employees to help people in our neighbourhood. We realise how big a problem homelessness is, it’s the biggest problem facing Westminster. If we can give our time and our donations and make a difference we will see real change happening around us.

“The Passage’s values, of compassion, kindness and respect, are the same as C & C Alpha Group’s. This initiative has the full support of the directors. We also want to involve the companies we work with, such as law firms and estate agencies, to get them involved as well. We are very excited about the potential for this partnership”.

Nichola Wilson, Relationship Manager at The Passage, said:

“We are really excited about this partnership with C & C Alpha Group. Working closely with the local community gives The Passage the best opportunity to be able to reduce homelessness and support some of the most vulnerable individuals. The partnership has got off to a brilliant start with C & C Alpha Group supporting one of our key fundraising events, and we’re in discussions about various volunteering opportunities – we’re really looking forward to where this will go!”