West Ham United captain Mark Noble recently took the time out to catch up with staff at local homeless charity, Caritas Anchor House, and resident Tom, a lifelong Hammers fan.
With ongoing backing provided by the Club via its Players’ Project, including a recent donation from Joint-Chairman David Sullivan, Noble wanted to call to check in on staff and Tom to offer his support during these uncertain times.
Caritas Anchor House operates in response to the growing problem of homelessness in Newham, the area with the highest rate of homelessness per capita in the country, with one in 24 people having nowhere to live. The charity is a 140-bed hostel facility based in Canning Town – where Noble grew up – 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. In 2020 the charity provided 275 people a home and support, of whom 116 moved onto independent living.
Throughout the pandemic, the Club and players have worked closely with the charity by providing residents with food, PPE, sanitiser and other essential items since the outbreak. In December 2020 the players donated a large amount of essential clothing through the West Ham United Foundation. Donations and support from local organisations is crucial to Anchor House, at a time when it is so easy for those experiencing homelessness to feel alone and forgotten. Over the Christmas period, a donation from the Club was also used to buy much needed food for residents for three whole days.
Mark and West Ham have long been supporters of the work we do at Caritas Anchor House, and it was great to see one of our residents receiving encouragement directly him in regards to his dream of becoming a football coach!
Caritas Anchor House staff member, Naomi Mullings, said: "The clothing that we received from West Ham was amazing and it went really quickly as well. Number one because the items that were given were good quality and number two, because there’s genuinely a need for that.
"There’s a number of small things West Ham fans in the community can do, from donating to our charity, to volunteering and helping to collect those donations, to help painting our building. We do get a lot of interest from the local community.’
Resident Tom found himself homeless after a difficult period in which both his parents suffered significant health issues, which led to a family relationship breakdown. Since his arrival to Caritas Anchor House in October 2019, Tom has found the support he needs to move onto his next chapter, which is to realise his ambitions to become a football coach.
Reflecting on the support from Anchor House, Tom said: "It’s been amazing, since I’ve come in here, they’ve done everything to support me. They help you look for jobs, with your CVs, everything."
During the call, Tom also shared his aspirations of becoming a football coach, taking on Noble’s final words of advice: "Tom, if you want to be a football coach, you go and be a football coach. Don’t let anybody stop you. At 12 years of age, I wanted to be West Ham captain, did I ever think it would come true? Never. So, give it everything you’ve got, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Don’t let anyone dampen your spirit because you can do it mate."
Andrew Warburton, who works at Anchor House, said: "We really appreciated Mark taking the time to come and speak to us about our work and the challenges we have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Both Mark and West Ham have long been supporters of the work we do at Caritas Anchor House, and it was great to see one of our residents receiving encouragement directly from Mark with regards to his dream of becoming a football coach!’