GTR signs new homelessness charter. L-R Steve White (Chief Operating Officer GTR), David Morris (Chief Executive of NOAH Enterprise), Rachel Hopkins (MP for Luton) and Claire Astbury (Luton Council). Image GTR

The Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is the first train operating company to put its name to the Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter.

The charter, which was introduced by Network Rail, is a first for the industry. It forms part of a programme of collaborative efforts to support a route out of homelessness for every person sleeping rough around the rail network.

Homelessness is particularly prevalent on the railway, which is why the UK’s largest rail operator has signed a new charter to help safeguard vulnerable people and communities.

It was signed by chief operating officer, Steve White, and witnessed by NOAH – a homeless organisation in Luton and along standing official charity partner for GTR.

Steve White said:

“Homelessness is a significant issue for society. As another winter approaches, I am proud to be signing the charter on behalf of Govia Thameslink Railway to support the ambition to break the cycle of homelessness and end rough sleeping for good.

“Our intention is to support the most vulnerable and collaborate with others to offer routes out of homelessness.”

GTR said it is committed to helping the vulnerable communities it serves. Last year, it launched the ‘Great Sock Appeal’, which collected more than 4,000 pairs of socks for homeless shelters across its route.

This year, in addition to signing the charter, GTR is rolling out e-learning to all colleagues to help them support homeless people.

NOAH (New Opportunities and Horizons) is a Luton-based charity working across Bedfordshire offering hope and support to people struggling against homelessness and exclusion. David Morris, chief executive of NOAH Enterprise, said:

“We have worked with GTR for a number of years and in this time have collaborated on various projects to help disadvantaged people in the local community.

“It’s great that the new training will educate staff about StreetLink, which is a key tool in helping someone begin their journey out of homelessness by connecting them with relevant services and outreach support.

“We applaud GTR for adopting the Charter at this early stage, and for committing to partner with NOAH’s new social enterprise Rainbow, through which more disadvantaged people will access jobs and training.”

The Rough Sleeping on Rail Charter was announced by Network Rail on 7 October 2020. It focuses on educating staff and empowering them with the tools to support homeless individuals as well as homeless charities.