And as festive season comes to a close, we’re saying a big old ‘thank you’ to everyone who made a donation to the local homelessness charity, SPEAR as part of our Christmas Appeal. Nearly £400 has been raised to help this Twickenham based charity with their great work across the Borough. If you want to make a contribution then you’ve still got time. You can go direct to the donations page or read more about why we’re doing this below. Thanks again for your support.

Here at twickerati we don’t make many requests of our readers but we really, really need your help on this one.

The requests we make of you are certainly far fewer than some of you make of us – promote this, tweet that, recommend a plumber. Enough already! But in this item we’re going flipping crazy by making not one, not one and a half, but two simple requests of you. The first? To keep reading to the end. The second? To cough up some money for SPEAR, an excellent charity based here in Twickenham working with homeless and vulnerable people across the borough.

Ice Cream VanStill here? Get in! With 2012 stumbling towards the finish line we thought it worth a quick recap before we start to look forward. It’s been a strange old year in Twickenham: plenty of shops closing, some new ones opening, more cafes than you could shake a stick at (though why would you?), a school plan challenged in court and cyclists revolting over disappearing bike lanes. And what else? Jubilee Street parties bringing people together despite the rain, Twickenham festival, the Olympic torch passing down the Thames on Gloriana, Bradley Wiggins pedalling his way to gold and the derelict swimming pool site finally being turned into something useful for the community. We can’t claim credit for a single one of those events (we would if we could, naturally) but we hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about them on here. And if not ‘enjoyed’ then perhaps ‘endured’. Or at least we’d like to think that you’ve been informed, irritated and occasionally amused at various points.

One of the reasons for setting up this site nearly three years ago was to discuss all things Twickenham in a non-partisan way. There’s no single-issue lobby group here, no political motivation, nor any grand end-game other than getting people interested in Twickenham, talking about their town and generally just being fully paid-up members of the twickerati. If you’re still reading this, then you’re part of it.

But reading about Twickenham on your computer, smartphone or iPad is a long way from the reality experienced by some people in our Borough. We live in beautiful part of London (apart from Regal House, obvs). It’s one of the more affluent parts of the capital too. But amidst all of that, often out of sight, are homeless and vulnerable people who need help. Many locals were surprised at the strength of emotions that surfaced when Seth Cohen died. Even those who never knew him, had never even spoken to him or given him money were affected. Many of us must have asked ourselves all sorts of “what if” questions when looking at the flowers and other tributes outside Superdrug.

And there are people in the area who need help today. And they will again tomorrow and the next day. That’s why we’re going to get all serious for a second and mention SPEAR, the award-winning charity based in central Twickenham. SPEAR provides services to help the homeless and vulnerable. Their work is vitally important, perhaps even more so at this time of year. And this is where you come in…

If you enjoy this website, or are just interested in Twickenham generally, please do something to help disadvantaged people in our local community. Please donate to our twickerati Christmas Appeal for SPEAR. We know there are lots of calls on your wallets and purses at this time of year but whether it’s £10 or £50 or £5, every single pound will make a difference to the people who need it.

You can find out more about SPEAR below but please, if you can make a donation, just click the ‘donate’ link to visit our fundraising page. Oh, a third and final request for you… do it now please, before you forget. Thank you very much.


If you’re not familiar with SPEAR, in this piece Tanya Smith gives some background about the charity and their important work in the local community.

Tanya writes: “Following the death of two people sleeping rough on Richmond Riverbank, SPEAR was formed in 1986 by local lady Penny Wade. The charity provides support for people who are homeless by helping them to access accommodation and gain the confidence and skills they need to establish a life away from the streets for good.

SPEAR’s Outreach Service helps to identify rough sleepers in the Borough, and last year the helpline received over 300 telephone calls from people in need of housing support. Once verified, the team will help clients to be housed either in our hostel, Penny Wade House, or with a referral partner in the area. From there clients have the opportunity to work with the skills development team to learn the daily life skills which are essential for sustaining their tenancy. The team provides intensive support with employment and work experience opportunities to help them become active members of the community, and we help them address the issues related to their homelessness such as mental health, addiction and family breakdown.

SPEAR has been supporting people in Twickenham for 25 years and last year we helped over 100 people who were homeless. The number of rough sleepers is expected to continue rising – the cuts in housing benefit make it very difficult for people to pay their rent, and with the lack of housing available it is paramount that the charity continues to establish relationships with private landlords.

SPEAR’s work would not be possible without the support from the local community. Without donations from churches, local businesses, and individuals we would not be able to help those most in need. To secure the future for our charity, we need to increase our donor support and we hope the residents of Twickenham would help SPEAR to secure the future for our clients.”

Tanya Smith
Senior Fundraiser, SPEAR
If you would like to know more about homelessness in the Borough, and how you could support the charity, please contact Tanya on

Spear London