Our History & Aims
Formerly known as the Astell Foundation, RESTART was founded in 2009 by Andrew Marshall, our President. Following a year volunteering with another homeless charity, he was struck by the scale of homelessness in London and was inspired to respond to this societal issue by setting up a homeless charity of his own. From 2011, the charity ran a friendly, volunteer-led drop-in at St. Augustine’s Church in South Kensington.
In 2018, RESTART forged a new link with St. Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge, where it continues to welcome homeless or vulnerable guests, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, nationality or faith.
“What RESTART offers is engaging and creates a safe space in which guests can become empowered and optimistic about their future”
Our aim is to help London’s homeless break the cycle of homelessness, to move from the streets, confront the issues obstructing their futures and return to society, feeling more empowered and resilient.
The principles underpinning our work are:
- provision of food and temporary shelter important starting points in meeting basic needs but alone will not create transformational change;
- any effective response to homelessness must address root causes (not just symptoms) by seeking to address mental health issues and promote positive well-being;
- for many homeless men and women, long-term, sustainable employment is essential if they are to lead fulfilling, independent lives;
- if effective impact is to be made, we must work collaboratively and strategically with other organisations determined to delivery dynamic change.