RESTART’s support for homeless people during the Covid pandemic has been shortlisted in the ‘Compassion in the Crisis’ category at The Chelsea Awards 2022.

The shortlisting is a nod to RESTART’s commitment to remaining as open as possible during a very difficult period. RESTART introduced new ways to help people stay connected and tackle isolation during the pandemic, which saw many other vital services offered remotely, virtually or closed completely.

The awards will be presented at a private event at the Saatchi Gallery on 28 April that celebrates the efforts of the entire Kensington & Chelsea community over the past few months and looks forward to a vibrant future. The winners are being decided by a panel of six independent judges representing different parts of the community.

The Royal Court Theatre, Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Partridges and Glassdoor charity have been amongst the shortlisted nominees and winners in previous years.

RESTART provided meals throughout all the lockdowns, providing a blend of takeaways and socially distanced sit-down meals at St Columba’s Church.

A lending library of charged up portable power packs, mobile phones, top-up phone credits and a befriending programme were all part of the innovative pandemic response from RESTART.

Guests were ten times more likely to access RESTART advice & support services if they were involved in befriending than those who were not. It has led to permanent changes in the way their services are delivered.

“We’re really proud to make the shortlist. The engagement and resilience of our amazing team has been truly exceptional throughout COVID and we’ve been able to maintain a real, tangible sense of community, even when the majority of us were forced to stay apart,” said RESTART’s CEO Nicola Miller.


“Aside from keeping people fed in a safe, honest and human way, we knew people were struggling. We offered other types of support for people and provided mobile phones, call credit, battery packs to allow people to stay in touch with our team of staff and volunteers.


“The majority of the guests we spoke to told us that being able to come to the drop-in during the pandemic had been important to them, with two-thirds also saying it had been important to their mental health,” added Nicola.


“If I’m alone and there’s no-one to go to, that’s the worst thing ever. Spending time with RESTART is one thing in my week that allows me not to think it’s the end of the world,” said RESTART regular guest Jemma*.

“I know on that day, things are basically alright. RESTART was there for me when no-one else was.”

*not her real name