About the Whitechapel Mission

At the Whitechapel Mission, we have been helping Londoners to help the homeless since 1876, meeting the specific needs of each man and woman who walks through our doors.

We are a volunteer led work with very few staff, but this does not mean we are a small organization.

  • We see as many as 300 people a day, looking for our assistance.
  • We see as many, if not more than the other day centres in London.
  • Our impact is as high, if not higher than other day centres.
  • We can do this for a fraction of the cost of other day centres.
  • We do this without any statutory funding.
  • We do this without spending a penny of your donations on fundraising or administration.
  • We recognise the true strength of our volunteers.
  • And we recognise the value of everybody coming through our doors.

First, we help the homeless by meeting immediate needs: food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. In our recovery programs, we address deeper needs for life-skills and job skills training, and addiction recovery. We measure our progress against four criteria, which indicate to us that a life has been transformed from homelessness to hope: connection to family, commitment to sobriety, a job and a place to live, and a plan for the future.

Today, The Whitechapel Mission is a results-oriented organization that is recognized as one of London’s most effective.

Our Purpose

The Whitechapel Mission is called to serve the men and women caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness and dependencies of many kinds, and to see their lives transformed to hope, joy and lasting productivity.

Our Goal

To be the most effective provider of compassionate care and life transformation for hurting people in London.

We promote the concept of being part of the Mission and taking ownership of the Mission. Any and all who come are welcome. The services we offer are built upon trust and belonging. We are an inclusion centre rather than an exclusion centre.

Our Promise

We are known on the street as the Cavell Street Mission and have become famous for our cooked breakfasts. More than 200 people each morning and as many as 300 join us to enjoy this breakfast, and many more visit to take advantage of a shower, clean clothing, medical attention and good toilet facilities with somewhere to have a shave, wash up after a night sleeping on the street. We are known for these services to the homeless and with the help of our many volunteers and supporters, we are good at the delivery.

And yet this is not what Whitechapel is about! Whitechapel is all about a promise – we promise that whatever mess your life may be in, whoever else may have let you down, at 6am tomorrow morning our doors will open and you will receive a warm welcome. We do not bar or exclude people. If your behaviour is not acceptable you will be asked to leave, but the following day you will be welcome back.

To keep this promise the Mission needs to be open tomorrow and the day after. We need to stay open on Bank Holidays and at Christmas. We have to be open every day. We are the stability in chaotic lives. We are the rock on which people can rely and maybe begin to rebuild their lives.

But it is also about the warm welcome. A plain welcome is not enough! A warm welcome, acknowledging individuals and making sure they understand they have value and are worth the effort. Our many volunteers deliver this message every day. It is not the fact that they prepare, cook and serve breakfast, but how they serve breakfast. With a smile and a pleasant word, confirming at the beginning of each day that we believe everyone has potential and we are here to support them all. We do make a difference every day, but only because of the support of people like you.