Union Chapel's Cost of Living Appeal

by Union Chapel in London, England, United Kingdom

Union Chapel's Cost of Living Appeal
We did it
On 22nd February 2023 we successfully raised £21,847 ( + est. £1761.75 Gift Aid ) with 155 supporters in 84 days

Keep Union Chapel open and warm for our communities & enable us to work with more people at risk of homelessness, crisis and disadvantage.

by Union Chapel in London, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Who we are

Union Chapel is known to many as one of the country’s most vibrant arts venues, home to exceptional live music and performance (voted London’s Greatest Live Music Venue in Time Out, with 100,000 visitors to 250 events in 2019). But it is more than that.  From our stunning Grade I listed heritage building, we provide an essential homeless service and a diverse creative programme ensuring that community empowerment and social justice are at the heart of everything we do.

The Margins Project at Union Chapel was established in 1992 o help those experiencing marginalisation, crisis, and homelessness. Margins has a track record of 30 years supporting people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, crisis and disadvantage through an extensive programme including: 

  • Crisis Drop-In Centre:  twice a week offering nutritious meals, showers, laundry and clothing, hardship support, and emergency packs.
  • Housing, Benefits & Advice Service: working with beneficiaries on a case work basis, advising and advocating around issues including housing and benefits, debt management, work, landlord disputes, domestic violence, immigration. 
  • Supported Employment Training Programme:  offering training and paid employment for up to 15 people a year with a  history of homelessness and those at risk of unemployment. Most trainees work in the Margins Café, which serves at Union Chapel events and gigs.  Trainees also receive ancillary support such as job club, therapy and ESOL.
  • Wellbeing support and mentoring

What we want to achieve 

Since 2020 demand for our service has more than doubled, driven largely by the cost-of-living crisis and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – and we anticipate demand continuing to grow in coming months. At the same time, Union Chapel’s income has been critically impacted over the last few years, with both the pandemic and now inflation massively impacting the income raised through our venue activities – a substantial source of our charitable funds. We are experiencing a perfect storm of a substantial increase in demand against a decrease in income. 

The money raised through the Aviva Community fund will help cover the increasing running costs of keep Union Chapel open and warm for our communities and enable us to work with more people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, crisis and disadvantage by supporting them realise their potential and succeed.  

The Impact

Union Chapel is situated in the inner London borough of Islington. Despite Islington’s wealthy image, it is very much a borough of contrasts. Islington is among the poorest 20% neighbourhoods in Britain with high rates of child poverty, loneliness, homelessness, and unemployment.

We believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to flourish and realise their potential. Our work is ongoing and is a step-by-step approach where we take individuals with multiple issue through a holistic process to build their confidence, self-esteem, wellbeing, life and employment skills and resilience. 

With your support, we will make the following difference for our beneficiaries: 

  • Increased quality of life through better shelter, food, hygiene and safety, access to temporary, permanent accommodation and prevention of eviction;
  • Improved physical and/or mental health and well-being;
  • Improved economic circumstances through access to benefits and employment;
  • Improved life skills and employability skills;
  • Improved confidence and self-esteem.


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