Today we hit an important number: 88.
We spent the day collecting at Torrington Place; a fantastic spot nestled in amongst the London Universities, and close to the hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road. So far, it's our favourite, and today we had a full-team out in good spirits: Viktor, Liam, Marion and Jerome, our team-leader.
Today, on our eighth day of operations we broke even - something we hadn't anticipated would happen within the first few months - with our vendors racking up 88 TAP's. With that money, we paid three members of staff who are struggling with homelessness the London Living Wage, paid their team leader, raised £88 for charity and our organisation didn't lose a penny. Aside from helping our cash flow look rosier, breaking even proves a few extremely important points for us at TAP.
- Homeless individuals are a latent resource with huge untapped potential. They are deserving of a chance - not because we should feel sorry for them, or treat them as charity cases - but because many are able, talented and hungry for opportunity. Last week Liam arrived in London with few job prospects, despite being extremely smart, capable, and with an excellent CV; this week he got out on the streets, and managed to get 40 kind strangers to give to a cause they had likely never heard of.
- Employment changes lives. It offers people hope for the future, and a belief in themselves that might have disappeared a long time ago. Since we met Viktor, he's gone from sleeping on the streets to paying for his own hostel, and saving his wage for a more positive New Year. He is proud of himself, and what he's achieved in just a few weeks. A lack of permanent address or bank account shouldn't make this kind of transformation impossible.
- Paying your staff a decent wage is sustainable: it will motivate them to work harder for your organisation, making your output worth it. A win-win really.
So thank you to the kind people of Torrington Place, who gave us and our vendors so much motivation on a chilly Wednesday. The memory of today will carry us through quieter days.
P & K