An independent future for London's homeless

Posted on Feb 26, 2018

An independent future for London's homeless News Post Image


In 2017 Fat Macy’s was selected as one of the two causes supported through our partnership with New College for the Humanities.

Young residents living in temporary accommodation find it increasingly difficult to save money to move on into independent living, due to the daily expense of hostel living and the income restrictions of the benefit system (and the benefits are needed to afford their hostel room). In 2016 Meg Doherty and Fred Andrews created the social enterprise Fat Macy's to help solve this problem.

Fat Macy’s serves delicious home cooked food at supper clubs, events and offices, while at the same time training and supporting young Londoners living in temporary accommodation and helping them move into their own homes. They provide a pathway from the hostel to a home, by providing a skill, a deposit for accommodation and hope.

The young residents participating in Fat Macy’s programme increase their personal savings while being trained in vital skills for independent living including: food hygiene, cooking, financial planning, curating and running events and practical work experience.

The Fat Macy’s method allows participants to make progressive steps in saving securely for their future in a way that works with the benefits regulations and YMCA policy. Fat Macy’s supports each resident as they learn new skills and save up for their rent deposit and they are ready to leave the programme when they have an employment contract and are able to pay their rent deposit.

Through the collaboration with New College for the Humanities six student groups overseen by Matthew Batstone, co-founder of the university, were given the tasks of helping Fat Macy’s to consider the viability of running a permanent café and generating ideas for helping them to increase the demand for their super clubs.

As a result of this work Fat Macy’s took on one of the NCH students as a summer intern, which then progressed into an ongoing role. And Fat Macy’s has successfully crowdfunded £55,000 to help them start a permanent café in Peckham.

Meg Doherty, founder of Fat Macy’s said, ‘Having Iona join our team after the NCH project was a huge bonus. She already had a deep understanding and appreciation for our work and has been able to take on an important business development role. She has helped us to share our impacts, find new grant opportunities, engage new press contacts and run a successful crowdfunding campaign’.

And Iona said, ‘I am still working with Fat Macy’s and am enjoying every second of it! From curating supper-clubs, to drafting the charity’s first Impact Report, I am constantly challenged and proud that I am part of such an innovative, self-sustaining and ethical organisation and team’.

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