RESTART information and services  during Covid-19


RESTART’s response to Covid-19 has involved adapting our services so that we can support homeless guests and vulnerable adults through the pandemic and beyond.

All changes to the drop-in and our programmes have been done so in line with government guidelines.

In October 2020, RESTART has offered:

  • a free sit-in or takeaway meal – for homeless and vulnerably housed guests – on Friday nights at St Columba’s Church in Knightsbridge.
  • 50 free smartphones to homeless guests/those that did not have one- allowing guests to participate in Test and Trace, keep in touch with us during the pandemic and provide valuable feedback to RESTART about our services.
  • access to free portable phone chargers for homeless guests – which can be brought back to recharge at our Power-Up Library whenever they visit us.
  • befriending support from trained volunteers who maintain regular contact with guests: listening, checking in and offering emotional companionship and support during this challenging period for mental health.
  • mentoring from trained volunteers supporting guests with their work-readiness, securing employment/income, life skills, mental health and well-being.
  • 1:1 office appointments with guests who require further support in moving away from homelessness.

We are very happy to announce that from Friday 6th November, we are able to operate the drop-in through lockdown.  For many of our guests (rough sleepers especially), being able to come inside for a couple of hours, sit down to eat and have a hot drink will be much-needed during these Winter months. 

RESTART is open!


 Join us for a sit-in meal or takeaway at:


St. Columba’s Church,   

Pont Street,



(Open to guests: 6.30pm-8.30pm)

*To avoid queues, we ask that guests do not arrive early


Please note, due to Coronavirus, our drop-in will:

– limit the numbers of guests indoors (housed guests will be offered a takeaway meal only; rough sleepers and homeless guests will be invited to sit in). 

– allocate one guest per table (to comply with the rule of no ‘household’ mixing inside)

– ask guests to wear a face covering at all times (can be removed when eating)


Please not attend the drop-in if you have any symptoms of Covid-19.


Additional safety precautions, in line with government guidance, have been put in place to ensure that guests, volunteers and staff are safe at the drop-in.


POWER-UP Library: 

RESTART is offering portable phone chargers to rough sleepers or guests that are accessing our support services- to help keep mobiles charged up and guests connected with key services during the pandemic.

Portable phone chargers can be swapped/recharged at our drop-in on Friday nights or at St. Cuthbert’s Centre, 51 Philbeach Gardens, Earl’s Court, London SW5 9EB on weekdays (Monday-Friday, 11.30am-1pm).

To enquire about a new charger, guests should visit our drop-in on a Friday, call (07387 727139) or email (


For more information, please see our FAQS.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why are you re-opening the drop-in now?

Advice about re-opening services like ours and places of worship has been updated. We can now open with confidence in our ability to operate a socially distanced drop-in that follows all government and public health England guidance.

We had to put most of our other regular support programmes on hold during lockdown as it was not possible to run them safely and we found our guests had other short-term priorities. Re-opening the drop-in means we can begin adapting and offering this support again. This includes help with finding and preparing for work; mentoring and mental health support; advice around accommodation.

Will I be safe from Coronavirus at the RESTART drop-in at St Columba’s? How will you enforce social distancing measures and minimise risk to guests, volunteers and staff inside the drop-in at St Columba’s?

We have done a full risk assessment of the drop-in space and activities and have made a number of changes to minimise risk to all.

 We will be:

  • limiting the numbers of guests and volunteers allowed inside;
  • using a non-contact thermometer to take guests’ and volunteers temperatures upon arrival
  • creating a one-way system for guests who use the drop-in;
  • operating a queuing system with 1+ metre distancing between guests;
  • only offering a takeaway service for housed guests
  • inviting those who are vulnerably housed or rough sleeping to come in and eat;
  • making face coverings mandatory for all volunteers and guests
Who will be allowed inside to stay and eat at the drop-in on Friday?

For now, we will only be able to invite our guests who are street homeless/rough sleeping to come inside to eat.

Everyone else – housed guests, pensioners – will be asked to collect a takeaway meal outside.

What time will the doors open, when can guests arrive to takeaway a meal?

The drop-in opens for either takeaway-only (housed guests) or eating-in (rough sleepers, homeless) at 6.30pm and will close at 8.30pm. Everyone who arrives and joins the queue before 8.30pm will receive a takeaway meal as minimum, even if we are unable to invite you indoors.

Please do not arrive earlier than 6.30pm or we may need to ask you to leave and return later.

Will I need to queue to get in or collect a takeaway meal?

We will be asking guests to queue from the side door of St Columba’s Church from 6.30pm. This is so that we can continue to serve as many guests as possible without turning anybody away who would like a hot meal.

We will try to make sure we move the queue as quickly as possible. Please do not arrive earlier than 6.30pm – guests who do so will be asked to return at 6.30pm to queue.

Where can guests go to eat their meal if not indoors?

If you have a takeaway meal, please do not gather outside the church to eat it because this would potentially put others at a risk. We would also ask that all our guests and volunteers be considerate of our neighbours by not leaving the takeaway containers and bags outside and disposing of these in bins.

If we are unable to enforce the safety measures needed to open the drop-in, this may put the future of the drop-in at risk. Thank you for your understanding.

Can I re-join the queue for a second meal?

Unfortunately, no. We are only able to offer one takeaway meal for every guest who attends, and we are unable to offer additional servings or takeaways to take to other people who are unable to attend.

How will you keep track of guests or volunteers who attend, in case of a confirmed case of Covid-19?

We will require everyone to give a name and a phone number or email where you can be reached as a condition of entering the building. We will treat all contact data in the strictest confidence.

If there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 amongst any of our volunteers or guests that have attended the same drop-in, we will contact everyone else that attended with next steps.

If you’re told by NHS Test and Trace or by us that you’ve been in contact with a person who has coronavirus, self-isolate for 14 days from the day you were last in contact with the person – it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.

For more information about NHS Test and Trace, please click here.


What if I test positive for Covid-19 soon after attending the drop-in?

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, take a test and results come back from the NHS positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and they will advise you.

Advice is to follow up with anybody you’ve been in contact with over the previous 14 days. Please remember to include us so that we can get in touch with the other guests quickly.

The best number to reach us on is 07387 727139 or you can email

The NHS test and trace service is explained here.


What cleaning arrangements are in place?

There will be additional cleaning arrangements in place for the toilets and communal areas before and after the drop-in for the safety of all our guests and volunteers. 

How can guests access the RESTART Power Up library for a portable power bank/exchange my power bank for a fully charged one?

Please ask when you join the queue for the drop-in or takeaway and explain that you would like to get a power bank.  We will either direct you once inside or bring one out to you.

How do I get to the drop-in?

The drop-in can be reached via C1 bus and a short walk from Knightsbridge tube station. See our map here.

If you are travelling on public transport, please remember to wear a face covering, avoid touching your face and wash or sanitise your hands as soon after as practically possible.

Is it safe for guests or volunteers travel to the drop-in via public transport?

If you are travelling on public transport, please remember to wear a face covering, avoid touching your face and wash or sanitise your hands as soon after as practically possible.

 Volunteers who need to use public transport to reach us will be directed to wash their hands upon arrival and we will hang coats and bags away from the main drop-in area.

Please note that we are unable to top up Oyster cards or to pay for travel to the drop-in.

 The Transport for London website has safer travel guidance during Coronavirus here.

Do I need to wear a face covering at the drop-in?

Guests who enter the building and stay to eat their meal will be asked to wear a face covering, which can be removed when eating.

Guests who are collecting a takeaway meal and not entering the building should also wear a mask when queuing or closer than 2m to others. 

 All RESTART volunteers will wear face coverings or visors when interacting with guests, depending on their role. This is to protect guests and make the drop-in as safe as possible. 

Will there still be food available for guests at the weekend?

RESTART will no longer serve food at the weekend from St. Cuthbert’s Centre; however, here are a few alternative options for Saturday and Sunday food/takeaway meals in London:

  1. American International Church, 79A Tottenham Court Road, W14 4TD (Saturday, takeaway meal, 10am-12pm)
  2. St. Andrew’s Church, Star Centre, Greyhound Road, Fulham, W14 9SA (Saturday, takeaway meal and shower, 8am-11am)
  3. Whitechapel Mission, 212 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BJ (Saturday & Sunday, breakfast, 7am-9am)
  4. St John’s Soup Kitchen, Brownswood Park, Gloucester Drive, N4 2LW (Sunday, takeaway, vegetarian meal, 12pm-2pm)
  5. Greenlight, Trafalgar Square (Sunday, 2pm-5pm)
  6. Nishkam SWAT, Strand (Sunday, 6pm)
  7. Rhythms of Life, Trafalgar Square, outside National Gallery (Sunday, 7pm)

Thanks to the London Homeless Info and the Pavement for the information above. 

Who can I contact if I need more information?

Please send us a message here or call 07387 727139.

One of the RESTART team will be happy to answer your questions.