Somali family living on bench outside Tooting TK Maxx

This photo was taken on Thursday, July 31

This photo was taken on Thursday, July 31

First published in News
Last updated
Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A Somali family have been living on a bench in Tooting for weeks on end.

Every night a man and woman are seen huddled under sleeping bags, directly outside TK Maxx, in Tooting High Street.

Wandsworth Guardian:

This photo was taken just after 10pm on Tuesday, July 29

They have multiple suitcases around them.

Wandsworth Guardian:

This photo was taken on July 16 by @gavinspringett

The pair have regularly been spotted on the bench over the past few months.

A spokesman for Wandsworth Council said: "We are fully aware of this issue and have repeatedly tried to engage with the people concerned and offer them help and a proper roof over their heads but sadly all these efforts have been rebuffed. 

"Unfortunately they are quite adamant that they do not want any help or support from us, nor from the other agencies who have also been trying very hard to support and assist them.Wandsworth Guardian:

The pair have been living in the busy high street outside TK Maxx

"We have been in touch with their extended family and also with representatives of the local Somali community in a bid to improve the situation, but sadly it remains unresolved.

"We are of course concerned for their welfare but unfortunately if they are determined not to accept any support then that is their choice and ultimately their right. 

"We will of course continue to closely monitor the situation and continue to offer our support and assistance in the hope that they change their minds."

More to follow.

Do you know more? Call the newsdesk on 020 8722 6344 or email ssleigh@london.newsquest.co.uk.

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:15pm Wed 30 Jul 14

mr-bjp says...

If they had been white english people living on that bench would they have got the same offers of help? I very much doubt it.
If they had been white english people living on that bench would they have got the same offers of help? I very much doubt it. mr-bjp
  • Score: -1

5:52pm Wed 30 Jul 14

buggsie says...

Why should we house these people who chose to leave their countries of origin.
Why should we house these people who chose to leave their countries of origin. buggsie
  • Score: 1

11:43pm Wed 30 Jul 14

fedup666 says...

Send them back to Somalia.
Send them back to Somalia. fedup666
  • Score: 20

11:26am Thu 31 Jul 14

samm043 says...

I am shocked at the negative-attitude of the first three comments.

Although they commentators seem to be concerned with public funds being abused (and rightly so should they be), not a word was said about the unfortunate couple. Who are they? How did they end up there? Have they tried looking for work? Will someone offer them work?

I have passed the couple only 2 days ago on the same street - it broke my heart to pieces to see them there, huddled in the blanket, talking in low tones to each other - a husband and wife (apparently). Don't you think they feel bad about their situation? Don't you think they feel ashamed that they have ended up in their current situation?

For all we know, they may be prefectly decent, ordinary people - just because they come from a different country, speak a different language and are in a difficult situation SHOULD NEVER mean that they should get any less respect that you or I. We are all human and at the very least if we do not have a kind word for them, we should not say anything at all.
I am shocked at the negative-attitude of the first three comments. Although they commentators seem to be concerned with public funds being abused (and rightly so should they be), not a word was said about the unfortunate couple. Who are they? How did they end up there? Have they tried looking for work? Will someone offer them work? I have passed the couple only 2 days ago on the same street - it broke my heart to pieces to see them there, huddled in the blanket, talking in low tones to each other - a husband and wife (apparently). Don't you think they feel bad about their situation? Don't you think they feel ashamed that they have ended up in their current situation? For all we know, they may be prefectly decent, ordinary people - just because they come from a different country, speak a different language and are in a difficult situation SHOULD NEVER mean that they should get any less respect that you or I. We are all human and at the very least if we do not have a kind word for them, we should not say anything at all. samm043
  • Score: 57

11:33am Thu 31 Jul 14

bellboy007 says...

I wonder if all the other homeless people, especially in Central London, a lot of young, terrified often abused kids that have had no choice but to run away have had the same effort from their local councils to help them out? Nope me neither.

Infact, the Police would have probably moved on dare I say it, a more indigenous person by now.
I wonder if all the other homeless people, especially in Central London, a lot of young, terrified often abused kids that have had no choice but to run away have had the same effort from their local councils to help them out? Nope me neither. Infact, the Police would have probably moved on dare I say it, a more indigenous person by now. bellboy007
  • Score: 27

3:20pm Thu 31 Jul 14

alroutemaster says...

Not our problem. Deport them as soon as possible.
Not our problem. Deport them as soon as possible. alroutemaster
  • Score: 11

6:09pm Thu 31 Jul 14

buggsie says...

By the look of that photo - they aren't that thin and under nourished.
By the look of that photo - they aren't that thin and under nourished. buggsie
  • Score: 31

5:02pm Sat 2 Aug 14

Thisisjustmyopinion says...

The old lady and her son are both mentally ill an the and she was
The old lady and her son are both mentally ill an the and she was Thisisjustmyopinion
  • Score: -1

12:25pm Tue 5 Aug 14

janee says...

How uncharitable we have become. We rampaged around the world (and still do) leaving instability behind us and then complain that, sometimes, we are asked to pick up the pieces. We seem to feel that, because we are British, we have a right to go where-ever we want but that we are the only ones with that right. Britain's wealth is founded on our activities overseas, often made on the back of creating poverty elsewhere. We propped up the likes of Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein, thought we had the right to define national borders, etc. Many of the problems around the world can be linked to our selfish, ignorant behaviour. Time for us to grow up and take responsibility for our actions.
How uncharitable we have become. We rampaged around the world (and still do) leaving instability behind us and then complain that, sometimes, we are asked to pick up the pieces. We seem to feel that, because we are British, we have a right to go where-ever we want but that we are the only ones with that right. Britain's wealth is founded on our activities overseas, often made on the back of creating poverty elsewhere. We propped up the likes of Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein, thought we had the right to define national borders, etc. Many of the problems around the world can be linked to our selfish, ignorant behaviour. Time for us to grow up and take responsibility for our actions. janee
  • Score: 2

6:34am Wed 6 Aug 14

dosser says...

Its good that they have been offered all the support etc but when I was sleeping rough a few years ago there was no rush to help me yet I was born here and paid taxes for years and I certainly was not has well fed has those two look
Its good that they have been offered all the support etc but when I was sleeping rough a few years ago there was no rush to help me yet I was born here and paid taxes for years and I certainly was not has well fed has those two look dosser
  • Score: 22

6:41am Wed 6 Aug 14

dosser says...

Poor people because they are foreign we must give them all the support they need, don't give them food though because it looks like they eat well, forget all the British born people on the streets it would be racist to help them.
Poor people because they are foreign we must give them all the support they need, don't give them food though because it looks like they eat well, forget all the British born people on the streets it would be racist to help them. dosser
  • Score: 13

11:00am Tue 19 Aug 14

mippy says...

fedup666 wrote:
Send them back to Somalia.
clicked on wrong icon by mistake, should av been thumbs up. Totally agree send them back, charity begins at home and this isn't theirs
[quote][p][bold]fedup666[/bold] wrote: Send them back to Somalia.[/p][/quote]clicked on wrong icon by mistake, should av been thumbs up. Totally agree send them back, charity begins at home and this isn't theirs mippy
  • Score: 10

10:58am Thu 28 Aug 14

tjames says...

very few somalis work--surely the vagrancy laws could be applied? they seem to be there all the time--what do they live on? no use to UK send them home or perhaps to scotland--they have lots of space up there
very few somalis work--surely the vagrancy laws could be applied? they seem to be there all the time--what do they live on? no use to UK send them home or perhaps to scotland--they have lots of space up there tjames
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree