Big Issue Vendor

Wimbledon towels to be served up to homeless people

With the annual tennis tournament called off due to Covid-19, organisers will donate 20,000 towels to charities, including to 2,400 to Crisis’ search for essentials

All eyes won’t be on centre court this weekend after Covid-19 cancelled Wimbledon for the first time since World War II – but that hasn’t stopped organisers hitting an ace for homelessness charity Crisis.

Up to 25,000 towels that were set to wipe the brows of tennis stars like Andy Murray and Johanna Konta or to be sold as memorabilia will be given out to charities to fulfil donation requests. Crisis will receive 2,400 towels decked out in Wimbledon’s traditional purple and green livery as well as a seasonal blue on blue design.

As former rough sleepers continue to be housed in the wake of the Everyone In scheme’s efforts to get them off the streets, there is a real need for basic household items to kit out new accommodation. This is a problem that was highlighted by Marylebone Big Issue vendor Kris Dove who moved into a new property thanks to the efforts of St Mungo’s and Westminster City Council and is now seeking furniture and essentials to fill the flat.

Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive, said: “We are very grateful to The All England Lawn Tennis Club and the Wimbledon Foundation for donating these iconic towels. Generosity like this goes a long way, giving our clients a unique slice of history and letting them know people are thinking of them.

“As we help people into secure homes of their own, essential items like towels mean they have what they need as they settle in and begin to rebuild their lives.

“Everyone should have the security and dignity of a home. The pandemic shown us all just how important that is. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of individuals and companies wanting to do whatever they can to help people affected by homelessness, especially at this difficult time.”


There are currently around 2,000 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.

As well as the towels, a donation of 30,000 Slazenger tennis balls will also be made to the Lawn Tennis Association to support their new Play Your Way initiative to boost the grassroots game in clubs, parks and schools.

Helen Parker, head of the Wimbledon Foundation added: “Following the cancellation of The Championships, the Wimbledon Foundation has been working together with The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships to use our collective resources to support the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts across society.

“Through our Coronavirus Fund we are supporting a number of homelessness charities in London and are pleased to be able to help Crisis by donating a quantity of Championships towels to assist their efforts to support some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

Image: Flickr/Ungry Young Man