Meet the team helping Havering’s homeless

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 April 2017

Lesley Doyle, Shazia Whatson and Lisa Northfield.

Lesley Doyle, Shazia Whatson and Lisa Northfield.


As London is faced with a housing crisis the issue of homelessness has become more prominent across the city.

In response to the growing problem one group of women in Havering have been giving up their time, and even their houses, to help people living on the streets to deal with their issues.

Lisa Northfield, 50, of Harold Hill, Lisa Edwards, 51, from Romford, and Lesley Doyle, 67, also from Romford, decided to support Havering’s homeless after reading a post on Facebook by Shazia Whatson calling for volunteers.

“I was sent loads of emails by people that wanted to help and I had to filter through them,” said Shazia, 46.

“The people I choose are dedicated, loyal and want to help, not just for this week or next week.

“I can phone any of these lot up if I’ve got a problem in another area – it’s about the support they give me.”

From stockpiling their houses with clothes, blankets and other essentials to hosting pub quizzes the four-woman team are determined to help in any way they can as Lisa Northfield explained.

“Primarily I take stuff in from anybody who wants to make donations. Usually it’s bags of clothes and things like that and I take them to Shazia.

“At one point I could barely move in my porch.”

“We also go around in Romford dropping them off,” adds Lisa Edwards.

Shazia, who provides mental health training for the East London Foundation Trust, added: “It’s not just, ‘you need a room’, I’d say 99per cent of the time there is a mental health issue there.

“Some people have been abused when they were young or have depression.”

“I’m hoping to talk to the council about the situation because I have seen it on the ground – I’m happy to work with them.”

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