Friday 24 Dec
Updated Friday 24 Dec 14:15

12 Days of Christmas - Homeless charity receives support from Mark Noble


West Ham United Club Captain Mark Noble has continued to show his support for local homeless people, chatting with Richard, a fellow Canning Town born man and life-long West Ham United supporter, who has taken up residency in Newham-based homeless charity, Caritas Anchor House

“It’s a privilege, I’m really grateful [to meet you]. It’s unbelievable… When I was younger and I was always watching West Ham - I was raised in Canning Town like you - I would always save up my money to go and see the game,” declared Richard upon seeing Noble. 

Newham has the highest overall level of homelessness in the country, with one in 24 people having nowhere to live, and alongside the West Ham United Foundation, the Club has been continuing to provide assistance to organisations helping those most vulnerable across the local community - including Noble's call as part of the 12 Days of Christmas campaign.

On sharing stories of Canning Town, Mark acknowledged that he still goes there and said: “It’s an important place for me, that area." With Richard following: “It’s nice to hear, and it sounds like the memories you had there, it’s like a little bit like my memory because there’s certain pieces that are still there and certain places that have changed.”

Richard, who has learning difficulties, became homeless due to harmful circumstances at his family home and was rough sleeping between March and July 2021, when he then entered Caritas Anchor House.

“While I’m still living in Anchor House, I want to just hold things down. Just keep to myself and do my own thing and do it for the people that are helping me, and one day have the opportunity to have my own place and just maintain it in general,” said Richard regarding his future plans. 

Caritas Anchor House is a 200-bed hostel facility with four houses based in Canning Town providing residential and life-skills support for homeless adults, with a mission to ensure that those who seek their help will grow in confidence and move towards leading independent, self-fulfilling lives, leaving homelessness behind for good. 

The charity provides a home for over 250 residents per year, with a holistic support structure that addresses health and wellbeing, financial management, education, volunteering, back-to-work preparation and support to achieve and sustain independent living. Over the last year they have provided 278 people a home and support, of whom 49 secured and sustained employment, and 137 have moved on from the charity.

Richard’s Caritas Anchor House case worker, Elif, noted that he has been progressing well over the past five months, saying: “Richard has come very far in a short space of time. He’s been doing really well with his mental health and his physical health. He’s done really well with socialising with other residents here. 

“I know in Richard’s case, he really wants to try and get back to work in the future. Not so much now because he’s still working on his health and trying to get that stabilised. Richard is very hands on. He’s really willing to get into foodbank volunteering and interests like that. So, that’s where we are starting at the moment and then hopefully we can get him into more stable accommodation and then from there he will still have support to pursue employment as well.”

The Hammers supporter received a couple of surprises from Noble, with an introduction to West Ham United legend and first team coach, Kevin Nolan, and, the promise to send him a gift ahead of Christmas.

“I’m going to send you a little box of stuff, mate. Just to say well done. Keep working hard, I know it’s not easy, what you’ve been through. But you’ve come through it and from what Elif’s saying you’re making good strides, mate. So, as a present from me, I’m going to send you a few bits to Anchor House for yourself and I hope it gives you that bit of incentive to push on and do well.”

The activity with the Club Captain was the latest in a series of support offered to the charity by the Hammers. Leading up to Christmas, this has included West Ham United Joint-Chairman David Sullivan giving funds in order to provide the charity’s 200 residents with lunch on Christmas Day, the gifting of food intended to be used for the men’s team’s pre-match meal from their postponed fixture against Norwich City, and, participants from the Foundation’s NCS programme raising funds and supplies which resulted in the delivery of nearly 150 items for the benefit of residents.

Furthermore, numerous donations have been made by Irons Supporting Foodbanks and the West Ham United Supporters’ Trust, giving residents crucial items like warm coats as temperatures have dropped through the winter. 

Amanda Dubarry, Caritas Anchor House CEO, said: "We really appreciate the support we’ve received this Christmas from everyone across the West Ham Family. Despite the recently cancelled fixture against Norwich, the club decided to do something really positive and donated the team’s pre-match meal to our residents - which was a big surprise for them last Saturday!

"We’d like to thank David Sullivan, who again like last year, has made a one-off donation to all our residents to make sure they have a Christmas meal on the big day. This is something that so many of us take for granted as we sit at home with family and friends.

“We were also so pleased to have Mr West Ham himself, Mark Noble take the time out of his busy schedule to meet one of our residents. We’d also like to give a shout out to Irons Supporting Foodbanks and West Ham United Supporters’ Trust who have donated essential clothes and food to our residents throughout 2021.

“We wish all the West Ham Family a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you!”