Charlton church’s winter night shelter gets council grant

St Thomas church

A winter night shelter at a Charlton church has been given a £500 grant by Greenwich Council as it opens its doors for the first three months of the year.

The shelter at St Thomas Church opened its doors for the first time this winter last Friday. It operates one night each week until March, providing up to 15 homeless people with a hot shower, an evening meal, a warm place to sleep and breakfast, as well as a packed lunch to take away.

Other Greenwich borough churches take part on other nights of the week to provide a volunteer-run service throughout the week during the coldest months of the year. We covered the St Thomas project last year.

Now St Thomas has been given £500 to help cover its costs.

The grant comes out of the ward budget fund, where each council ward has access to a pot of cash to help community groups. Woolwich Riverside ward councillors Barbara Barwick, John Fahy and Jackie Smith put the shelter forward for funding.

With temperatures dropping and snow expected later today, if you know of anyone sleeping rough, you can contact streetlink.org.uk to ensure they are offered help and advice.

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About Darryl

Journalist, SE Londoner.
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9 Responses to Charlton church’s winter night shelter gets council grant

  1. MiceElf says:

    Excellent decision, the volunteers at St Thomas’ have worked so hard and energised the local community to support this project.

  2. Peter Cordwell says:

    Disgusting that this has to happen in Tory Britain. You would think it was 1917 instead of 20.
    The hope is, of course, that the innate goodness of the British people – look at how we always respond to global crises – will send the heartless Tories packing in the next general election. I know that some of the Tories in Greenwich are decent people, so let’s hope they look into their consciences as homeless people freeze on the streets.
    Over in Lewisham we have run our own mini-foodbank for the last couple of years in Kingshurst Road (we’re moving soon but intend to do the same at our next address if anyone is interested) where our neighbours donate food anonymously every week to a church in Kidbrooke and another in Sidcup.
    It would be great if someone followed suit in Greenwich. Just put out a wheely-bin for contributions and make contact with a Trussell Trust church. It’s a heartening exercise in these dark times and as the volunteers at St Thomas know, we need to do God’s work more than ever.

  3. shirlaine Williams says:

    Somehow its not enough money and its really only for one night 🌃!!!!!!😒😠

  4. sarah davidson says:

    Why one night in this weather it should be open every night

  5. charltonlane says:

    It’s one night a week and ither churches in the area cover the other nights….

  6. Peter Cordwell says:

    Best not to criticise. Best to join in.

  7. MiceElf says:

    Here’s the latest update.

    Greenwich Winter Night Shelter Spring (in meteorological terms!) 2017 Update for Volunteers

    View this email in your browser

    Our Work – Shelter and Hope

    Dear volunteers and friends,

    Greenwich Winter Night Shelter has so far received a total of 44 guests with the length of stay ranging from 1 night through to 59 nights and counting..!

    Since the shelter opened on 3 January we have been reminded of the challenges that face individuals in our community and the suffering of homelessness, but also the solace and provision of hope is real and palpable.

    It is pleasing to report that 7 of our longer-term guests have moved into accommodation in Greenwich, Bromley and Erith. Each individual expressing a sense of relief and gratitude the day they picked up the keys from the Council!

    The continued relationship between the individual and the referral agency should ensure that the requirements necessary to sustain the housing are elucidated and met.

    Inevitably there has also been a handful of difficult situations which, without exception, the volunteers have handled with great humanity and professionalism. Prayers for those former guests who are in a particularly difficult place; that God’s faithful hands and enduring love will provide refuge and stronghold in times of need.

    For those clients who have no recourse to public funds, the night shelter provides essential respite and comfort while they work through their options and the relevant Local Authority process.

    It’s hard for volunteers to accept praise but please take on board these comments today which we have received from guests, crucially without any prompting:

    ‘Thank you to the shelter. I have put on weight since being at the shelter due to the lovely food! The volunteers are excellent and very kind. I cannot believe that you work during the day and help at night to offer such a lovely service. Thank you for supporting me when I really needed it.’ LH

    ‘I have my pride again. My health is much better. And I pick up the keys to my new flat today!’ FI

    ‘I’d be in prison again if it wasn’t for this shelter.’ DW

    ‘The food is amazing and lovely people. I enjoyed a really good night’s sleep, thank you volunteers!’ CK

    ‘You guys are amazing. I really cannot thank you enough. I have the keys now and can move on with my life.’ RS

    With only one month to go until we close, our focus is on the future progression of those homeless people who do not easily fit the criteria for housing support and social care.
    Foodie Friends of GWNS
    Huge thanks for the warm and generous food donations received from Nando’s, Island Flavas, Wandercrust Pizza and of course our daily bread from Rhodes bakery in Greenwich. They requested nothing in return; not even silent gratitude!
    GWNS Celebration
    On Saturday 8 April there will be a service of thanksgiving from 6.30pm at Christ Church, East Greenwich, followed by a celebration to recognise and thank all GWNS volunteers for making the shelter possible. This will be a relaxed evening with a glass of prosecco, a hot meal, soft drinks, cake and music for you to enjoy! Please bring your own alcoholic drinks.

    The new Bishop of Woolwich, Bishop Karowei, will be in attendance and is keen to meet as many of you as possible.

    Changes to the Trustees
    Tracey Milsom and Liz Franklin have resigned from the Board of Trustees to pursue other work commitments. We are very grateful to them for all their hard work as trustees, and would like to thank them sincerely for all they have done. We wish them every success for the future.
    Warm wishes,

    Joanne Birch
    Project Manager

  8. MiceElf says:

    NIGHT SHELTER – debrief

    Dear all,

    Friday 31st March was the last night of our ( St Thomas’ ) night shelter and although it was fun night, with one of our guests teaching all present how to salsa dance, and some community singing, the following morning was a sad farewell to our guests who had also become friends.

    On a positive note at least six of our guests have been housed but as soon as they were homed there was always someone waiting to take their place.

    An album of photographs will go on this page in due course.

    We are so grateful to the volunteers who showed up every Friday night and Saturday morning and big thank you to all who donated food, clothes and money.

    Please see attached this brilliant YouTube clip very kindly put together by our own Mr John Clark

    If you wish to reply, email directly to James Kinsella, please.
    ( jamesjkin@aol.com )

    Regards

    Jim & Miriam ( St Thomas’ Church wardens )

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