winter shelter news blog
Wednesday 31 Jan
New guests joined the shelter making our numbers up to 11 and although it was a cold night the atmosphere round the table was very warm. Luckily, getting the shelter prepared and all the beds made up was made much easier with the help of pupils from St Andrew’s school. Despite one of our guests having had his bike stolen earlier in the day he joined in and made the evening go well – we are hopeful we may be able to get a replacement in the coming week. Yet more great food for dinner and breakfast was topped off by one of guests bringing along a box of chocolates which were passed around everyone present. Another good night - and more to come!
Monday 29 Jan
House of Commons debate on poverty and homelessness Getting the message across is vital and Joanna’s connections meant that we were invited to speak about our night shelter and APAP at a meeting in the House of Commons (Committee Room 16). At the meeting hosted by the MP Siobhain McDonagh we discussed poverty and housing and whether we are on track for returning to a Dickensian Britain. We reflected on food banks and our own experiences along with case studies from APAP and Jimmy’s in Cambridge. It highlighted the importance of what we are doing.
Wednesday 24 Jan
It was buzzing round the table which made it feel more like an Italian restaurant than a church. More guests and a good sprinkling of volunteers made the atmosphere especially warm. Useful items from coats and shoes to tooth brushes and underwear were available for guests. This week one of our major local stores realising we had a number of ladies staying with us provided ladies underwear in a range of sizes and Tricia helped to make sure all our guests made the most of what was on offer.
Wednesday 17 Jan – Stormy, Stormy Night
Stormy stormy night! No one could doubt the need for our shelter – four new guests added to our numbers (now 7 in total) along with a team of familiar and new volunteers. One call for help in the afternoon and three volunteers turned up – through their efforts all beds were set up and the linen cupboard sorted ready for next week when the children from St Andrew’s will again get involved in project – making up beds and getting church ready for our guests.
We celebrated one of the guest’s new job; Sandra offered her podiatry services; Loretta’s supper was delicious and the conversation flowed.
The storm outside made sleeping difficult but the sumptuous breakfast in the morning meant our guests certainly left more rested and contented than when they arrived.
Food and beds are important but the real success of the evening was the warmth between everyone present – a big thank you again to all our volunteers who made it possible. Last night Richard and Kerry and I took on the overnight sessions ensuring everyone was comfortable. Richard is a stalwart of the programme and we will miss him, perhaps next year we could offer to return the favour and stay over at a shelter in Amsterdam.
Wednesday 10 Jan
A big thank you to everyone and particularly the volunteers who joined us to make our first Wednesday Night Shelter such a success. It was great to get to know our guests and to make them feel at home.
Some lessons were learnt on the first night which should make next Wednesday run more smoothly but overall it was a great success.
Sharing food is important to us all and we sat down together for a great meal from Rowena and Trish. A few hours later after a quiet night on our new beds (thank you to all our sponsors) we again sat down to an appetising ‘Martina’ breakfast – the best start possible to face the day ahead.
Thank you to one and all
'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'