It’s 8am and myself and five friends are collecting hot cups of tea from the counter of a greasy spoon. We arrived just as they opened and are proud first customers. Stepping outside the atmosphere is a calm limbo between the night before and day just beginning; party goers stumble home as early workers start lifting shutters and clearing rubbish.

Being about at this time on a Saturday is not totally unfamiliar (all-nighters or work are usually to blame) but this is something new. We’ve been walking since our 5am start on London Bridge, three hours ago. It feels like midday but it’s not. There should be people all over the place but there aren’t. It’s a strange sensation - experiencing well known places in new ways - and one that continues for 21 hours more.

The 24 Hour Walk for Homelessness started as a reaction to the dramatic increase in rough sleeping in London over the past 10 years when a friend suggested we walk for 24 hours around the city to raise money for homeless charities. The idea stuck and having successfully raised £1,800 for Shelter and Crisis we are now building up to our second walk on Saturday the 25th of May.

This time, we are raising money for Praxis Community Projects, an amazing charity based in Bethnal Green which supports migrants at risk. Their services help homeless migrants and migrants at risk of homelessness by providing accommodation, legal services and emotional support. Praxis help migrants regardless of documentation or immigration status, a principle we think is so important having seen from the Windrush scandal exactly how unjust immigration bureaucracy can be.

The 24 Hour Walk is about enjoying London in a way that takes action against homelessness. As we explore, we will be witnesses to the diverse communities, habitats, buildings and spots that make up our homes and hope to better understand the joy of this city and its people and at the same time the injustice of homelessness.

It’s an amazing way to experience the city and (honestly!) a lot of fun. We hope you can join us, even if it’s just for an hour. Why not get in touch and give us a tour of your neighbourhood as we pass through...

Follow us on Twitter (@walk24hrs), Instagram (@24hourwalk) or Facebook to find out where we are on the day and join in!

Obi Sargoni

@obi_sargoni

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