Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
Fulham have been charged with failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during their 2-1 Championship loss to Bristol City on Saturday.
The Cottagers felt Neeskens Kebano was fouled in the box in the 93rd minute, but referee Jeremy Simpson did not award a penalty.
It led to heated exchanges with Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney being booked.
Fulham have until Friday (13 December) to respond to the charge.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
@SimonBrotherton: I’m really looking forward to this one because only goal difference separates these two in the table and Leicester look prime candidates to challenge the established top six should any of them falter.
Wednesday’s Champions League opener in Greece saw Tottenham relinquish a two-goal lead for the second time already this season and Leicester should provide a stern test this weekend.
Brendan Rodgers has made an impressive impact since his return to the Premier League. Only Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have picked up more points than the Foxes since he took over at the King Power Stadium.
VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers: “We never get too carried away. When we win, we are not too disappointed, and when you lose, you can’t be too down because you have to get ready for the next game.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, asked about Harry Kane’s claim that Spurs keep making “similar mistakes”: “Be careful when you translate what the players say after the game to media because some times we can take in a different way the words.
“Always I respect what player[s] say and you can assess what they say.
“I am not going to judge what one or another player is telling you because I wasn’t there, so I cannot talk about the words and the intention. When you are disappointed you always look to try and improve.”
Tottenham have been very up and down so far this season, but I don’t think they have too much to worry about – they are a good side, with some quality players.
You just know Spurs are going to have a run where they win loads of games, but they might have to wait a bit longer to get up and running.
- Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League games against Leicester, including each of the last three.
- Victory on Saturday would see Spurs win four consecutive top-flight matches against the Foxes for the first time.
- Leicester have scored 44 Premier League goals versus Tottenham, more than against any other side, while their tally of 10 wins is a joint-high.
- Leicester have lost only one of their eight Premier League home matches since Claude Puel was sacked as manager (W5, D2, L1).
- Jamie Vardy has scored 31 Premier League goals against sides from the established top six since August 2014, more than any other player.
- Vardy has been directly involved in 14 goals in 15 league games under Brendan Rodgers, scoring 12 goals and providing two assists.
- Rodgers has won each of his last five Premier League matches as a manager against Tottenham (winning five and losing one of six games while Liverpool boss).
- James Maddison has attempted the most shots without scoring in the Premier League this season, and only one of his 16 efforts has been on target.
- Maddison has failed to net with his previous 28 shots in the top flight, last scoring against Huddersfield in April.
- Spurs are winless in their last eight Premier League away games (D2, L6), their worst run since a 10-game streak in 2006.
- They won 11 of their opening 13 league matches on the road last season but lost the remaining six, and have drawn twice in the current campaign (at Manchester City and Arsenal).
- Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 away league games.
- Spurs could win back-to-back top-flight matches for the first time since April.
- This will be Mauricio Pochettino’s 250th Premier League match as a manager (W131, D58, L60). The Argentine will become the first non-European to reach this landmark.
- Harry Kane has scored 13 goals in 12 games in all competitions versus Leicester (including one goal while on loan at Millwall), more than against any other side.
Can a women’s team thrive at the top level without any ties to a men’s club? After breaking away from Millwall, London City Lionesses believe the answer is “yes”.
The new second-tier side, who host English champions Arsenal on Sunday in their first League Cup fixture, are going it alone as a new brand without a “brother”.
In the higher levels of the English women’s game, almost every other club is affiliated to a male counterpart, with many reliant on funding from their men’s team one way or another.
But, after a less-than amicable separation from Millwall, the new Lionesses have made a positive start to life on the pitch and they feel more female teams might follow in their footsteps.
“We want to prove that a women’s team can now be run as an independent club and not rely on handouts from an older brother,” London City Lionesses manager Chris Phillips told BBC London Sport.
“It is right for a women’s team to be commercially free, to be able to go and do deals with partners and sponsors. Being able to do our own deals, we can sustain this model and become profitable.
“Commercially, London has a big pool. We’re in the right place at the right time with the right product. Maybe a few will follow suit.”
‘No-one hates us’
But how difficult will it be to build a fanbase from scratch, without the prospective boost from supporters who already follow one of the capital’s leading men’s sides?
A crowd of 224 turned up for their 3-1 home victory over Leicester City on 8 September at Dartford’s Princes Park Stadium and the Lionesses have won three of their first four league games this term.
Asked how his team would find more fans, Phillips added: “The first thing is, no-one hates us.
“We’re not Spurs, so Arsenal don’t hate us. We’re not West Ham, so Chelsea don’t hate us.
“Our players will be going out to schools, to youth clubs, to communities and interacting with people. We know it’s going to be a gradual process but we’ve built the foundations.”
The club have started a community outreach programme which sees their players providing coaching courses at local schools.
While it remains to be seen whether Phillips’ theory proves correct and fans of London’s men’s clubs develop a soft spot for his Lionesses, there is one set of supporters from whom they can expect some animosity.
Millwall fans ‘deeply upset’ at breakaway
Millwall Lionesses played in the second tier last term but their Championship licence was transferred to London City after approval from the Football Association, who run England’s top women’s leagues.
They almost went into administration in April 2018 and were saved after nearly £17,500 was donated via a crowdfunding page, but won just one of 20 league games in 2018-19.
Their former board, led by chairperson Diane Culligan, formed the London City Lionesses to the “disappointment” of the Lions, and a reborn Millwall Lionesses side – run by the Championship men’s club’s Community Trust – have since re-entered the pyramid in tier six.
After a turbulent summer which saw conflict over logos and branding and even temporary confusion as to which party controlled the Lionesses’ social media accounts, the new London City Lionesses squad was unveiled on 18 August.
“It doesn’t sit right with us that this establishment has ripped our football club away from us,” said Michael Avery from Millwall Supporters Club.
“Millwall have always had a strong history in women’s football. To have that heritage and history snatched away from you is deeply upsetting.”
Formed in 1971, Millwall became one of the very first women’s clubs to be adopted by a men’s club in the 1980s and won the Women’s FA Cup in 1991 and 1997.
BBC Radio London understands London City Lionesses will not be pressing any claims over the history of Millwall Lionesses or their two FA Cup wins.
Phillips, who had been Millwall Lionesses’ manager since 2018, says this term is a “fresh start”, adding: “There are standards that should be met for players, from training facilities to private medical care, and ultimately the only way we felt we could do that was by becoming independent.”
FA decision ‘in the best interest of the players’
Millwall’s rebuild began with a 12-0 win in their first sixth-tier match on 15 September, but Avery added: “Our league position and licence was taken. We have to essentially start from scratch.
“We are now in the sixth division, having been in the second division. That’s awfully sad. I think it’s appalling what the FA has done.”
However, the FA’s director of the women’s professional game, Kelly Simmons, said: “[We] were left with a decision, whether to allow a change in entity, or [the club] would have gone under.
“We had a number of discussions and meetings with Millwall FC and Millwall Lionesses as it was then to try to resolve the situation.
“At the end of the day, Millwall FC wanted an exit route in their community programme for women’s football, not investing in semi-professional or professional women’s football, but more or less a grassroots exit, which is what they’ve got because they applied to start a new team [in tier six].
“The decision left for the women’s football board was to decide whether to support the new entity, with the new investment to pay off the creditors and move the club forward.
“That was really the only option on the table and, therefore, for the best interest of those players and for the people involved in that club, we made that decision.”
‘The ill-feeling feels similar’ to AFC Wimbledon & MK Dons
Now four divisions apart, the two Lionesses’ estrangement has been likened to that of the acrimony between men’s teams AFC Wimbledon and Milton Keynes Dons.
The old Wimbledon FC, nicknamed the Dons, relocated to Milton Keynes in 2003 and subsequently changed their name to MK Dons in 2004, while AFC Wimbledon won five promotions in nine years to reach the English Football League in 2011.
The intricacies of those two situations are very different, but it seems many Millwall fans are not going to forgive London City’s hierarchy anytime soon.
“As a fan, there’s a lot of ill-feeling towards the London City Lionesses establishment,” continued Avery. “It does have a very similar feel to it [the Dons].
“If we did play each other, you would probably not see London City Lionesses on their programmes, that’s for sure.”
BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women’s sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women’s sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.
Cardiff remain without injured keeper Neil Etheridge (hamstring), so Alex Smithies is likely to return in goal after Joe Day’s Carabao Cup appearance.
Winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing could also be absent for Friday’s visit of Fulham with an unspecific knock.
On-loan striker Bobby Reid will be unavailable for the Londoners against his parent club the Bluebirds.
Midfielder Harry Arter could face his former team, but defender Denis Odoi is still a doubt with a knee problem.
- The past two league meetings with Cardiff and Fulham at the Cardiff City Stadium have ended 4-2 – Fulham won in December 2017 and Cardiff won in October 2018 by that scoreline.
- Fulham are looking to secure consecutive league wins over Cardiff for the first time since November 1996.
- Cardiff have lost just once in their past 12 Championship home games, winning 10 in the process (D1 L1).
- Fulham have won nine of their past 14 away games in the Championship (excluding play-offs), losing just twice (D3).
- Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has won seven of his 10 home Football League matches against Fulham (W7 D2 L1).
- Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic has failed to score in his four league appearances against Cardiff, although he has provided two assists in those games.