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The Sock Mob Homeless Volunteer Network Pages

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Sock Mob?

We are a group of people engaging with the homeless in London by cutting through the misconceptions, prejudice and fear that often accompany stereotypes of rough sleepers and other vulnerable groups in the city. We walk, sit and talk with them in a moment of mutual learning and trust, driven by the ethos of unconditional human contact and friendship.

What do you do?

It's very simple - we meet every two weeks in central London and from there walk along a range of routes in small groups (led by an organiser/walk leader), in order to meet, spend time with and listen to the homeless people we meet, using the power of socks and conversation to break the ice!

What is your aim?

The main aim is to listen, talk and forge meaningful links with the homeless in a completely non-judgemental and agenda-free way. We try to bring a little bit of normality into lives that are anything but normal. One of the first things to go, when you become homeless, are all the little niceties that we take for granted, so to chat to someone while they make you a hot drink the way you like it, or offer you a choice of sandwiches makes quite a difference. Even being able to say 'no thank you' is a big thing in a world where you are made to feel you have very little choice. Afterwards, we sometimes go along to a centrally located pub to meet up with anyone else from the other routes who wants to come along, and chat about what we did, who we saw, and generally make new friends and catch up with each other.

How do I sign up for a mobbing?

Our RSVP list opens up 5 days before each event. If you're able to attend, just click on the 'going' link. As we do often have a waiting list, we ask that you keep your RSVP updated if you find you can't make it to a mobbing so that those waiting can have a chance to come along.
We do also ask that only those signed up and on the 'going' list attend our mobbings. Being on the streets is hard, and seeing a large group of people, however well meaning they may be, is unnerving. Too many people in one place around someone who's homeless can be totally overwhelming. If you don't make it one week, there's always the next event!

What should I bring to a mobbing?

You don't need to bring anything but an open mind to our mobbings, but if you'd like to, things like soft food (many of our homeless friends have dental problems and hard foods like apples should be avoided), packaged sandwiches, fruit, water, layer-able clothing, and, of course, socks, are always much appreciated.

How did you start?

We at the Sock Mob started out as a small group of friends in 2003, who felt moved to simply go and be with the homeless - to spend time with them, chat, hang out, hear their stories - and give hot drinks and socks in the process to break the ice. The emphasis was always on the companionship, because what really got us was the emotional neglect and loneliness people experience when they're living on the streets. We figured we could easily make a small, simple step to help alleviate this - a smile and a chat doesn't cost anything!
And so we'd meet in central London and explore the streets, meeting the people on them.

Why are you called the 'Sock-Mob?

Slowly, word began to spread on the streets about these strange folk who just wanted to sit and chat and, bizarrely, gave out socks, until our street friends themselves christened us 'the sock ladies'. This didn't go down too well with the male members of our group, so in 2008 the Sock Mob was born. We deliberately used the word 'mob' to reflect that we are a positive, freeform London 'gang', aiming to extend joy and warmth to the people we meet in an agenda-free, non-judgemental way, while also getting plenty of fun and enjoyment out of it for ourselves.

Are you a charity or formal organisation?

The group itself is not charity, or formal group of any kind. We are simply a group or similarly-minded people with a desire to put humane principles into everyday, effective action. This informal structure is central to the ethos of our group, as it keeps us free of any externally legitimising constraints that might otherwise inhibit the intimacy, deep-rooted trust and free-thinking spirit inherent to what we do.

How many members belong to the Sock-Mob?

We have an ever growing 'urban tribe' of over 3,000 volunteers, as well as reaching over 1,500 on Facebook, and are expanding in ways that we could never have first imagined.

How else can I help?

If you'd like to help out, but can't make a mobbing, we do always need donations of new socks, t-shirts, boxer shorts and other items. You can view our wish list below.

Sock Mob Wish List

I have question that is not covered in these FAQs- who can I ask?

If you have any questions that are not covered in the faq's (or you require further elaboration of the answer to an existing question) then please feel free to contact Lynn (or any of the other organisers) who will be more than happy to help. You can contact us through our profile in the first instance. Anyone involved with the media is asked to contact the organisers in the first instance, and attend at least one mobbing BEFORE any interviews/photographs/filming, and we will, of course, need to discuss permissions, release forms etc., as there are those among both the volunteers and homeless communities who do not wish to appear in the press.



Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Sock Mob Events December 10, 2010 5:31 PM Lidija M.
About The Sock Mob Homeless Volunteer Network May 4, 2018 11:19 AM Lynn

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