Arsenal and Tottenham legend returns to West Ham roots on charity visit
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Housing
Sol Campbell homeless
Former England footballer Sol Campbell returned to his roots this week when he visited an east London homeless charity.
The former defender, who played for London Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, met with staff and residents at Caritas Anchor House to discuss the work the charity does with the vulnerable and marginalised in the community.
Born in Plaistow and raised in Stratford, Campbell started his career with a spell at local club West Ham. He has a special place in his heart for Newham but despite his fond memories, he recognises that not enough is being done to support the community.
He also heard from a few residents about their personal stories of homelessness - and was impressed by how far they’d come.
Resident Richard, 39, explained how the charity has helped him: “I came to Caritas Anchor House 10 weeks ago. I was sleeping on the street and struggling with drug addiction. The staff here have been brilliant and the support means that I now have a safe place to sleep, am clean of heroin use, and I’m trying to move on.”
Richard has recently started volunteering at the charity, boosting his confidence and giving back to those who have helped him along the way.
“It’s changed my whole life,” he explained. “Without Caritas Anchor House I would still be on drugs and probably in prison. The charity has turned it all around for me in such a short space of time. I can’t thank them enough.”
Based in Canning Town, Caritas Anchor House is one of the few remaining agencies in Newham that helps those without a home to get back on their feet.
The charity gave a home and support to 232 people last year, and the approaches it uses to get people back into work resulted in 37% of residents securing employment in 2013 – a figure almost four times higher than the average of 10% most homeless organisations manage.