Buy One Give One: White Chapel Mission 🕊️

This month we’re working with three different charities to donate a pair of socks, for each pair of socks purchased on

This week's charity of choice is White Chapel Mission who has been helping the homeless in London since 1876. Acting as a sanctuary for those in need, the White Chapel Mission aim to meet the immediate needs of those who walk through the door whether that be food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.

We caught up with the team at White Chapel Mission on what the charity is doing and how they've kept going, even through a global pandemic.



What is the Whitechapel Mission?


The Whitechapel Mission is a Homeless Charity in East London who have been helping Londoners to help the homeless since 1876, meeting the specific needs of each man and woman who walk through our doors. Due to the recent circumstances, we have had days where we have seen see as many as 600 people a day, looking for our assistance. We do this without any statutory funding. Our journey begins by meeting our guests’ immediate needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. We then provide recovery plans for those requiring deeper needs.


How did it start?


In 1876 the forerunner of the Whitechapel Mission was inaugurated as `The Working Lads' Institute and Home' at a Public Meeting in the Mansion House, presided over by the Lord Mayor of London. Little is known of the founder, Mr. Henry Hill, but the work was conducted from rented premises at The Mount, Whitechapel Road, London until 1885 when a brand new building was constructed to house the work at 285 Whitechapel Road (famous as the building that housed the enquiry into the 'Jack the Ripper' case). This building was opened by Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII also attended. From 1896 the work was continued by a Methodist minister, Revd Thomas Jackson and the burgers of the City maintained their association with the work, with the Lord Mayor of London and the Sherriff attending the anniversary celebrations each year.


The Whitechapel Methodist Mission was a Primitive Methodist foundation, arising from the home mission activities of one of the Methodists' greatest ministers, the Revd Thomas Jackson who worked in the East End of London for 56 years. His work at Whitechapel built on his earlier work in Bethnal Green, Walthamstow and Clapton. The Whitechapel Mission combined social work with evangelical work. The station began in 1897 when Revd Thomas Jackson bought the Working Lads' Institute which was due to close owing to a shortage of funds. He used this as the basis for his work in Whitechapel. In 1901 the Mission acquired a property on Marine Parade, Southend, to continue the provision of holidays and convalescent stays for the poor from the area. In 1906 Brunswick Hall was purchased and this enabled a physical separation of the social work and evangelical work.


The Mission's many activities included free breakfasts and penny dinners for local children; a Medical Mission; a free legal advice service; a night shelter for homeless men; distribution of food, coal, and grocery tickets to the poor; prison gate rescue work especially amongst young lads, which developed into full probation work with the opening of Windyridge Hostel.


The objective of the Institute then was to keep its doors open for orphan and destitute lads. Food, clothing, lodgings, and friendship were provided for upwards of 3,200 needy homeless between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years. In its first year the Institute served over 11,000 breakfasts and was open each and every morning for the homeless of any age.


The work we do and the way we do it have both changed completely since 1876, but the point of it is exactly the same: to make a difference in the lives of people, wherever it is most needed.


What is your mission?


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


• We can see as many as 600 people a day, looking for our assistance.
• We remain open every day
• Our impact remains high
• 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 recognize the true strength of our volunteers.
• And we recognize the value of everybody coming through our doors.


First, we help people 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’s, 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.


What are the main aims for the organisation?


To continue to remain open and serving every single day of the year and help London’s homeless and vulnerable.


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. 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.


What are the services you offer the homeless community?


We offer a free cooked breakfast every single day of the year including Eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, baked beans, hash browns, mushrooms, tea, coffee, bread and butter, or toast. We also offer a vegetarian option to our guests.


At the Whitechapel Mission, we believe in choice and so for our guests who prefer not to have a cooked breakfast, we also have a huge range of cereals to offer.
Our most nutritious and popular option is a hot bowl of porridge with a choice from a range of toppings.


We also offer access to our showers and free clothing, advice services and computing services



With the Pandemic affecting the world over the past year and a half, what’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced within the organisation?


Sadly, we have seen new faces with new challenges coming through our door people who are desperately in need of the food, shelter, advice and hope offered at The Whitechapel Mission.


As we continued to care for an increasing number of our most vulnerable guests during the corona-virus (COVID-19) emergency, we remained committed to the health, safety and well-being of all. Our guests who are experiencing homelessness did not have the option to “stay at home” to avoid risk to themselves or others.


We have continued to offer our essential services (more than 315,425 free meals served during the pandemic). Our response balances the consideration that our guests are highly vulnerable to many challenges. Organizations like ours have a duty to care and not prematurely suspend potentially life-saving services. People in need continue to be welcomed at our Whitechapel Centre.


What’s the most rewarding part of working at Whitechapel Mission?


Knowing that no matter how hard a working day can be, when the day is done, the team here at the Whitechapel Mission helped make a difference to the lives of those that we serve with the aid of our wonderful supporters.


How can people help support the organisation?


At The Whitechapel Mission, we rely upon our supporters to provide various resources we need to help the homeless, hungry and hurting of London. We are eternally grateful to those individuals who have acted on their desire to share their love for the needy by partnering financially in our work.


We make a promise that every penny donated to the Whitechapel Mission will be spent directly to help people who are homeless. See our donation policy.
We also offer companies the opportunity to fundraise for the Whitechapel Mission where they can get their teams involved.


The Whitechapel Mission also operates one of the largest clothing stores in the UK, and so donations of clothing are welcome.


In addition to this, we offer volunteer challenges where groups of individuals are able to offer their time to either cook and serve breakfast to our guests, or sort through our clothing and toiletry donations.



How will the ‘Buy one to Give one’ initiative with Stance aid the community you’re helping?


The needs of our guests can change from day to day, and currently the demand for the items within the initiative such as men’s socks and underwear are extremely high. We know first-hand just how much these donations and Stance’s generosity will mean to our guests.


Where can people find out more information about what it is you’re doing?


Our website and our social media channels are updated regularly. For those wanting more information, we have an annual review which provides an overview of the year.


Where can people follow your journey?