Today London, Tomorrow the World:
West Ewell homeless helper sets sights on starting nationwide charity
Anthony Burdett (far left) with volunteers from the Big Warm Up project who hand out essential items to homeless people in London
What started as a simple urge to help a man in need on a cold December night has snowballed and could soon lead to the creation of a nationwide charity, according to the Ewell man behind a project that helps homeless people.
After DJ’ing in Pacha nightclub in Victoria last December, Anthony Burdett, 30, got talking to a homeless man, and after only being able to offer him the change in his pocket, he left wanting to do more.
So he set up the Big Warm Up page on Facebook and was quickly swamped with messages from like-minded people wanting to help.
The page now has more than 3,000 likes.
Mr Burdett, a team leader of maintenance at Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, now uses his home in Hogsmill Way, West Ewell to stockpile donations before handing them out to people in need.
The group initially distributed hats, socks, sanitary towels and other essentials to homeless people in Victoria, the West End, Vauxhall, Leicester Square, Regent Street, and Oxford Street once a month.
But with more donations, more volunteers, and harsher weather, the group now goes on their mission once a week.
Mr Burdett believes the project can grow even more, and is setting his sights on helping homeless people across the country.
He said: "We’ve had more interest in it than I thought - it has snowballed.
"We are planning to get a big truck and then start up a soup kitchen and incorporate that with what we do already - like a one-stop shop.
"We are also in the stages of getting it to be a registered charity early next year."
The Big Warm Up Project has proved so popular that Mr Burdett has had to buy two sheds in order to find space for all the donations he receives and believes with the project’s popularity he can expand it and help more people across the country.
He said: "We have had more interest in it than I thought or intended.
"I’m definitely looking to build it, expand it and grow it."
The Big Warm Up project is launching a
Homeless Shoebox Appeal this Christmas
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PUTTING YOUR SHOEBOXES TOGETHER
●we will see far more men than women
●please NO ALCOHOL
●please leave packages so they can be inspected and resealed
●please get all packages to a drop off point by 20th December
●anyone needing more ideas how about adding -cheap phone (fully charged) and credit, razor and shaving gel, puzzle book and pens, wind up radio, torch and batteries, gift vouchers, oyster card
For more information, go to
The Big Warm Up Helping the homeless stay warm on the streets on Facebook.