During the late 80s, homelessness became an increasingly visible problem in Streatham and the surrounding area. While media attention focused on the problems in central London, there was no service available locally for homeless people.
As a result, a temporary Christmas centre opened in 1989, jointly organised by the congregations of English Martyrs and St Leonard's churches in Streatham, with the support of many others in the local community. Such was the demand for this service, and the support of local volunteers, that a more permanent service was established.
Initially known as the 'Sunday Centre', a hot meal, clothing and advice were provided every Sunday for those in need. This was quickly followed by additional weekday openings and a new name - 'the Spires Centre', registered as a charity in 1993.
Since then, Spires’s services have developed to include our Rough Sleeper Space, Spires Streetlink (which includes outreach and centre services for women involved in sex work), Open Access drop-in, Women’s Space and our Spires Adult Learning Centre.
We also work with a range of other voluntary and statutory agencies to ensure that we can offer all of our clients’ long-term solutions to homelessness and severe disadvantage.
To this day, Spires has retained strong links with its two founding churches, and volunteers continue to play an important role in delivering our services.