Like all the very best ideas, Next Meal is simple. It’s slightly surprising that no one has thought if it before – but again, that is true of all the best ideas.
Next Meal was started by a group of volunteers who work at the Muswell Hill soup kitchen. They had the idea to create a website that can direct homeless people to food and support 24/7. A GPS on the site identifies where someone is and within seconds lists the nearest charities that provide food and support for homeless people. The website can also give directions to help people get there and sets out the different services that are available (food, support, showers, etc.) as well as stating whether the service is open.
Martin Stone is the founder of Next Meal. He said “We want people to care about homeless people, but we want to help them in the centres where there’s a level of expertise,” he adds. Martin is an expert in social housing and says “If people have talent, they should use it”. Martin was inspired by seeing technology at bus-stops showing when to expect the next service to develop a similar service that could benefit homeless people.
So when a neighbour, Oli Roxburgh, mentioned that his talent was making “app-y things”, Martin asked Oli to turn the soup kitchen booklet into an interactive tool – and Next Meal was born.
Martin’s idea, which has been a huge success in Muswell Hill, has now been rolled out to 300 Next Meal sites across the UK and in Dublin, Paris, Milan, New York and San Francisco.
The aim is to very practically help people who are homeless or in acutely difficult circumstances. The hope is that this will be a useful tool for statutory organisations and charities working together to reduce street homelessness in the UK
For more information about Next Meal go to