RESTART 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.

Tuesday 6th July 2021 update:

We are happy to confirm that we are still able to operate the drop-in.  Social distancing, face coverings, temperature checks and extra safety precautions remain in place to keep guests, volunteers and staff as safe as possible. Please see more details below about the drop-in. 

Restart’s office is currently open on Tuesdays and Thursdays (by appointment only) and Kickstart sessions for guests are held on Tuesdays (10am-1pm). Please make an an arrangement in advance (this can be done at the Friday drop-in, by phone or via other organisations who are welcome to contact us on a guest’s behalf). We aim to re-open more fully beyond 19th July 2021.


RESTART Drop-in:

We are open on Fridays – offering a combination of sit-in meals and takeaway meals.

We will accommodate as many as possible to sit-in who are in accommodation but, whilst we have limited capacity due to Covid restrictions, we will prioritise rough sleepers/homeless first.

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

St. Columba’s Church,   

Pont Street,




*To avoid queues, we ask that guests do not arrive before 6.15pm


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

– limiting the number of guests allowed inside the building for a sit-down meal

– ensuring guests are socially distanced (spaced 2m apart) while in the queue and inside the church

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

– collecting a phone number (or email) from guests that have a sit-down meal so that they can be reached for Test and Trace purposes

– following additional safety precautions, in line with government guidance, to ensure that guests, volunteers and staff are safe at the drop-in

If you experience any symptoms of Covid-19 – cough, high temperature or loss of smell/taste – you should not come to the drop-in and follow medical advice.


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 (or takeaway service) that follows all government and public health England guidance.

We had to put most of our other regular support programmes on hold during the first 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 are currently operating a takeaway only service for all guests due to the new rise of Covid cases and national lockdown. 

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.

When we return to an indoor drop-in, our system includes:

  • 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 are currently operating a takeaway only service for all guests due to the new rise of Covid cases and national lockdown.

When we return to an indoor drop-in, sit-in meals might only be available to guests who are street homeless/rough sleeping. 

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?

We are currently operating a takeaway only service for all guests due to the new rise of Covid cases and national lockdown.

Please arrive at any time between 6.30pm and 8.30pm for a takeaway meal. 

Please do not arrive earlier than 6.30pm (to avoid queuing), 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?

This Friday (8th January 2021), we will be asking guests to queue from the front door of St Columba’s Church from 6.30pm. This is so that we can safely distance guests around the outside of the building. 

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?

When it is safe to return to our indoor drop-in, 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, you must 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 if results come back from the NHS as 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?

This Friday (8th January 2021), we will be having a very small number of volunteers to help – all of whom can avoid public transport (e.g. walk or cycle) to get to the drop-in. 

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 is no longer serving food at the weekend from St. Cuthbert’s Centre; however, here are a few alternative options for Saturday and Sunday meals/takeaways (breakfast, lunchtime and dinner) in London:

  1. St. Andrew’s Church at Star Centre, Greyhound Road, Fulham, W14 9SA (Saturday, takeaway meal and shower, 8am-11am)
  2. American International Church at 79A Tottenham Court Road, W14 4TD (Saturday, takeaway meal, 10am-12pm)
  3. Whitechapel Mission at 212 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BJ (Saturday & Sunday, breakfast, 7am-9am)
  4. Glassdoor at St Columba’s Church, Pont Street, Knightsbridge, SW1X 0BD (Saturday and Sunday, sit-down dinner, 7.30pm arrival). 
  5. St John’s Soup Kitchen at Brownswood Park, Gloucester Drive, N4 2LW (Sunday, takeaway, vegetarian meal, 12pm-2pm)
  6. Greenlight at Trafalgar Square (Sunday, 2pm-5pm)
  7. Nishkam SWAT, Strand (Sunday, 6pm)
  8. Rhythms of Life,Trafalgar Square, outside National Gallery (Sunday, 7pm)


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

Please double check the websites as these options might change with different government announcements and new Covid-19 restrictions. 

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.