Sir Ian McKellen today hailed The Independent’s charity appeal as “inspiring” as he helped launch our online auction raising funds to tackle the homelessness crisis in London.

The actor said: “Seeing homelessness and passing by won’t do. Vulnerable people on our streets need help and I am happy to support the Standard and Independent’s inspiring campaign.”

Last week The Independent and the Evening Standard launched a two-year appeal, The Homeless Fund, to help deal with the homelessness crisis.

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Using appeal funds, the London Homeless Collective, a coalition of 23 charities delivering direct services to people sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness, will work to target the worst gaps – particularly around support for homeless women and mental-health provisions.

As part of the fundraising efforts, proceeds from an auction launched today will go to The Homeless Fund.

A holiday of a lifetime in the Maldives will be up for grabs (Soneva)

Lots on offer include the chance to have free rein in Selfridges’ toy shop – with £500 of toys to take home – a feast cooked in the bidder’s home by award-winning chef Asma Khan, a Chelsea FC shirt signed by the club’s first team and a five-day luxury getaway in the Maldives.

In a personal gesture of support, Sir Ian, 80, is offering four tickets to his acclaimed one-man career retrospective show currently showing at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End, Ian McKellen on stage with Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others And You.

The actor will also invite the ticket holders backstage for a behind-the-scenes look at the production – which he opens with a reprisal of his Academy Award-nominated Middle Earth character Gandalf – and a chat with the star himself.

Last year 148 homeless people died on the streets of the capital, many lying dead for hours before they were found. Sixty households in London became homeless per day in the past year – the equivalent to one every 24 minutes – according to analysis of official statistics by the charity Shelter. 

This has left 88,320 children in a form of temporary accommodation across the city, according to government statistics. In total, some 170,000 people are now believed to be homeless in London.

You can bid on these wonderful auction lots at ​​independent-auction.co.uk

The auction closes on Thursday 5 December at 10pm


This year’s Christmas campaign is for The Homeless Fund, which will finance desperately needed services. The campaign will highlight the worst instances of homelessness globally, with money raised going to help homeless projects in London. Click here to donate.

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