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Here’s how you can help London’s homeless by eating out this Christmas

James Manning

Rough sleeping in the UK has nearly tripled since 2010, and last year over 300,000 people in Britain – equivalent to one in every 200 – were recorded as homeless. It’s one of the UK’s biggest problems, and London, with its sky-high rents, is right at the centre of it. So if you’re not fussed about the cost of a meal out, it makes sense to help people who can’t even afford a home this winter.

Enter StreetSmart: an annual fundraising drive that exists to raise money for UK homeless charities, simply by asking restaurant customers to add an extra quid to their bill. The initiative was founded in London in 1998, and since then it has raised more than £8.8 million in total. Last year it funded 69 homeless organisations across the country, from major charities to local soup kitchens.

It’s easy to help: just go out for dinner. Three hundred London restaurants are involved this year, from established joints like Claridge’s BarBarrafina and The River Café to Time Out favourites like Hoppers and Ikoyi and newcomers such as Rovi. StreetSmart has also just launched its Top 100 awards, which recognises the restaurants across the UK that have been the biggest supporters of the fundraising efforts over the charity’s 20 years. Check the list of participating eateries online, head down and ask the staff to add £1 to your bill throughout November and December. It’s a delicious way to make a difference.

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