The Mall, Walthamstow has announced a new charity partner for 2018. Local charity, Forest Churches Emergency Night Shelter (FCENS) has been selected as the beneficiary of the shopping centre’s successful The Mall Cares programme.

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Rebecca Bird, Marketing Manager at The Mall, is delighted to welcome the charity as its new partner: “FCENS was chosen in November 2017 by the centre after narrowly missing out on the customer vote in both 2016 and 2017. The very worthy charity does such important work across the borough and was clearly a popular choice with our shoppers, so we decided to choose them as our partner for the year ahead.”


Established in January 2009 to help those sleeping rough in Waltham Forest during the winter months, FCENS is the result of a collaboration between seven local partner churches.


The charity provides shelter for 30 people each night from 1 November until 31 March at a different church venue on each night of the week. As well as their premises, each church provides volunteers, food and bedding. Each guest receives an evening meal, a bed for the night, breakfast, a hot shower and a warm welcome. FCENS also provides caseworkers to deal with longer-term needs such as housing.


Over the summer months when the charity is not actively providing overnight accommodation, it communicates with local day centres and hostels to advise them when the shelters will open. It also promotes its services across the borough in order to attract new volunteers of all persuasions.


The Mall is launching the new partnership with a charity clothing collection. The campaign will run from now until October, ready for FCENS’ busy period in November. The shopping centre is asking its customers to donate good quality coats and jumpers for both men and women to keep them warm in the colder, winter months. Donations should be delivered to The Mall’s customer service desk on the first floor.


The shopping centre is also helping to raise money to fund a foot clinic for those sleeping rough, which will run weekly from January to March. The chiropody sessions provided by Mehul Kamdar of Healthy Feet on Hoe Street, will take place at the evening shelters.


Corinna Creasy, one of the charity’s Trustees added: "FCENS is thrilled to be chosen by The Mall as its charity for 2018. This partnership will initially enable us to  provide chiropody services once a week until the end of the winter and to collect and store warm clothing to hand out to those in need. Single homelessness is a continuing problem in Waltham Forest and the generosity of the community enables us to provide a welcoming base from which people can plan to move away from the streets."    


FCENS replaces The Mill Community Centre as The Mall’s charity partner. The Mall enjoyed a successful relationship with the volunteer-led community space throughout 2017 and closed the year with a donation of £4,000 raised over the Christmas period with a Santa meet and greet. Charity initiatives included the running of tombolas and the donation of raffle prizes and much-needed equipment such as display boards and a coffee machine. In September 2017 The Mall rehomed a beautiful model elephant, which had outgrown its previous residence at The Mill.


Speaking about their relationship, Helen Bingham, The Mill’s Business Development Manager said: “The Mill prides itself as not only providing a friendly drop-in space but also for encouraging individuals and groups to try new things, or build up an idea which can benefit the local community. Since opening six years ago we've worked with so many creative and passionate people, who’ve incubated their ideas and provided amazing new activities and workshops or helped us through fundraising. None of this could be achieved without the commitment from our volunteers, supporters of The Mill and fantastic partners such as The Mall. Thank you.”