An elephant walking across the Thames next to Blackfriars Bridge.

Bankside NGO celebrates Frost Fair to help homless

For the second consecutive year, Better Bankside announced the dates of the Frost Fair to take place from 26 to 28 of January 2024.

An elephant parade, horse and carriage rides, street games, artisan market, a screening of the Frost Fair episode of Dr. Who and many more attractions and activities will be free of charge to all visitors. 

Donations collected during the festival will support the work of the Manna Society, a charity and day centre working with the homeless and vulnerable. 

Those who organise it

Nicole Gordon CEO of Better Bankside said: “We are incredibly excited to be hosting Bankside’s second Frost Fair.

“The activities and events on offer are unusual, vibrant and will spark joy for everyone at an often gloomy time of year.”

The Frost Fair brings back the collective memory of when the River Thames would freeze to the point where Londoners could organise a fair on at ice.

They famously walked an elephant across the river during the last Frost Fair in 1814.

Gordon also added: “When the river froze, the fair not only provided entertainment, it also supported the local community through offering much-needed employment for out of work bargemen. 

“The mentality of community, creativity and resilience is still very much alive and well today amongst local Banksiders and the businesses we work with. 

“The Frost Fair is one of the ways we can share Bankside, as an area and community, with others.”

Those who help

The Frost Fair is not only unique for its history and variety of attractions, but also for its mission of helping the homeless through their partnership with the Manna Society.

Bandi Mbubi, director of the Manna Society explained Better Bankside has been supporting the charity for over ten years, not only around the Christmas period but throughout the year. 

Mbubi said: “During Christmas they give us Christmas gifts for those we support.

“Also we will be organising a Christmas dinner for the homeless on Friday the 22nd of December, serving food and drinks and of course giving presents.”

For the rest of the year the Manna Society provides a variety of services for around 120 people every day, which include: meals, showers, health check, mental health support, internet access clothing store and even housing and legal advice.

Better Bankside is a Business Improvement District which aims to improve the neighbourhood through a collaboration of residents and businesses, tackle urban challenges and work towards positive economic, environmental and social changes. 

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