Churches in Weston-super-Mare have come together at short notice to provide a temporary but very necessary solution for people living on the town's streets in the extremely cold weather conditions by opening an ad-hoc night shelter.
Barry Edwards from the Friends Meeting House (Quakers), in High Street, Weston-super-Mare said: 'It all came together very quickly. Last night was our first night. Ten homeless people responded to our offer of hospitality and somewhere safe and warm to sleep. They were all grateful for the welcome and especially the cooked breakfast.'
'We are grateful to Hands Of Change and Weston Homeless who donated food, blankets and hot water bottles,' said Barry.
The shelter was opened on Tuesday 27th February 2018 at short notice in association with Churches Together in Weston-super-Mare and District and will run from 8pm to 8am during the period of sub-zero night-time temperatures. It can accommodate up to 12 people.
Gary Hoare, President of Churches Together said: 'It's amazing what can happen in just 12 hours! Barry and I met Tuesday morning and hatched a plan... and by 7pm the doors of the Friends Meeting House were open to receive our guests. We are ultimately doing this to prevent people from needlessly suffering and potentially dying on our town's streets. I am really pleased how this has come together and grateful for the willingness of local people to respond to a potentially critical situation at the drop of a hat. We extend special thanks to the Friends Meeting House for hosting us.'
'This also illustrates the real need for a more permanent night shelter in the town. We are in discussion with various agencies and local concerned people with that in mind as well as Weston Town Council. The longer-term solution will likely need a more substantial budget and a professional manager along with a team of volunteers to make it happen,' said Gary.
The Friends Meeting House is on the corner of High Street and Oxford Street in Weston's town centre. North Somerset Council have notified their Street Wardens, the Street Pastors and emergency services about the temporary shelter.
Anyone wishing to support this or forthcoming Churches Together projects practically can contact Barry Edwards and Gary Hoare on 01934 624091. Donations to Churches Together Weston-super-Mare and District can be dropped in at Life Bookshop, 13 The Centre. Further information is available at www.ctwd.org.uk
For a broader local perspective, search for the 'Weston Super Mare Homeless' group on Facebook.
LOVE WESTON and AREA is an initiative of Churches Together in Weston-super-Mare and District, a local association of Churches. CTWD are affiliated to Churches Together England a Registered Charity No 1110782.
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