- Deliveroo is funding thousands of free meals in 10 participating restaurants for LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness, starting this Pride Month
- Saying “I’m a friend of Dorothy” or “Dorothy” will unlock a free main meal, no questions asked
- Customers at participating restaurants can also donate to Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) after the charity reported a 58% increase in referrals within the last three years
- 24% of homeless people identify as LGBTQ+ and 77% believe coming out to their parents was the main factor for their homelessness
Deliveroo, its restaurant partners and LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) have joined forces. They will provide free meals to members of the LGBTQ+ community who find themselves in a homeless or vulnerable situation when it comes to affording food or shelter.
The trial begins this Pride Month across 10 restaurant sites in London, Brighton, and Bristol. When a member of the community experiencing homelessness says “I’m a friend of Dorothy” or even just “Dorothy” before ordering, it will unlock a free main meal as well as additional resources on how they can receive help.
The move for Deliveroo to fund the free meals follows new data from the akt charity. This revealed that referrals have increased by 58% within the last three years. Previously, data from 2021 by akt revealed that 24% of homeless people identify as LGBTQ+. 77% believe coming out to their parents was the main factor for their homelessness*.
Five LGBTQ+ owned restaurants including *The Athenian, Club Mexicana, Smashing Plates, Tonkotsu, and Bleecker Burger are the first to sign up to the initiative. It is being funded by Deliveroo and aims to support the rising numbers of LGBTQ+ homeless people in the UK.
In addition to a meal, information on how people can receive assistance via the akt charity will be provided to them discreetly. Deliveroo and restaurants taking part will also encourage other customers to play an active part. They can make donations to akt through in-restaurant posters, window stickers and QR codes.
Lea Duchemin (She/Her), Co-Lead of Deliveroo’s LGBTQ+ Network, Deloveroo said:
“Deliveroo is a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community, all year round. The move towards supporting homeless and vulnerable people comes following the shocking numbers and terribly sad situations a number of LGBTQ+ people are finding themselves in. Food is what we do best and helping feed people at their most vulnerable, in a supportive and safe space, and directing them towards vital information, could be a much needed lifeline.”
Tim Spoor, CEO of akt said:
“LGBTQ+ young people are at an increased risk of homelessness and housing insecurity. We know that more than 24% of young people experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. In 2023, LGBTQ+ young people are still facing homelessness because of their sexuality and gender identity. The cost of living crisis is pushing more young people into homelessness. This Deliveroo initiative will help provide food to LGBTQ+ young people struggling to afford the day-to-day essentials that we take for granted.”
The phrase, “A friend of Dorothy”* was first used as a coded synonym for gay men, to identify a safe space, when homosexuality in the UK was criminalised. The term has since expanded as a catchall term for other people who identify as LGBTQ+. The Dorothy in question is thought to be Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, which is seen as an allegory for ‘chosen family’ and a journey towards home.
Deliveroo has supported a number of LGBTQ+ charities since its launch ten years ago. These include National Aids Trust, Switchboard, Stonewall, Not A Phase, The Raze Collective, akt and Hesla Helps. The British delivery pioneer, who is once again a Pride in London sponsor this year, also launched its School for Allies. This is a platform for employees, riders, and restaurant partners with helpful information and guidance on LGBTQ+ issues.
Emma Reynolds from Tonkotsu said “Tonkotsu is devoted to creating a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone. We are happy to be involved in this Deliveroo initiative and provide meals to LGBTQ+ individuals who are in need of support during Pride Month and beyond.”
20 New Road, Brighton, BN1 1UF (Opening Times: Monday to Wednesday 11:30am -10:00pm, Friday to Sunday 11.30am – 10.30pm)
The “Friend of Dorothy” initiative from Deliveroo, akt charity and its restaurant partners is available in-store from participating restaurants (see full list of locations in notes to editors) from today. One meal per person can be redeemed per day and the initiative will initially run for up to three months, or until all meals have been redeemed.
Smashing Plates (2 sites)
· Unit 3, Tooting Market, 20 Totterdown Street, Ground Floor Market, London, SW17 8TA. (Opening Times: Sunday to Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am – 10.30pm).
· Unit GR12, Boxpark, Olympic Way, Wembley, London, HA9 0JT. (Opening Times: Sunday to Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am – 10.30pm).
- Tonkotsu (2 sites)
· 20 New Road, Brighton, BN1 1UF. (Opening Times: Monday to Wednesday 11:30am -10:00pm, Friday to Sunday 11.30am – 10.30pm).
· Arch 334, 1a Dunston Street, E8 4EB. (Opening Times: Monday to Wednesday 11:30am -10:00pm, Friday to Sunday 11.30am – 10.30pm).
- Bleecker Burger (2 sites)
· Old Spitalfields Market, Lamb St, London E1 6EA. (Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 11:00am – 11:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 10pm).
· 205 Victoria St, London SW1E 5NE. (Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 11:00am – 11:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 10pm).
- The Athenian (2 sites)
· Unit 16, Cargo 2 First Floor, Gaol Ferry Steps, Bristol BS1 6WD. (Opening Times: Sunday to Thursday 11:45am – 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday 11:45am – 10:30pm).
· Unit 54, Boxpark, 2-10 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E1 6GY. (Opening Times: Monday to Thursday 11:00am – 10:30pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00am 11:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 10:00pm).
- Club Mexicana (2 sites)
· 46-48 Commercial St, London E1 6LT (Opening Times: Monday CLOSED, Tuesday 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Wednesday to Friday 12:00pm – 10:00pm, Saturday 11 :00am–4:00pm, 5:00pm –10 pm, Sunday 11:00am – 4:00pm)
· Kingly Court, London W1B 5PW (Opening Times: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12:00pm – 10:00pm, Saturday and Tuesday 12:00pm – 9:00pm)