St Thomas Charlton Night Shelter benefit concert: Friday 1 December

St Thomas church

Each year between and March, St Thomas’ Church in Charlton is one of a group in Greenwich borough who collaborate on the Greenwich Winter Night Shelter project.

St Thomas’ opens its doors for one night each week, 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 churches in Greenwich borough pitch in so a volunteer-run service is provided all through the week.

We covered the St Thomas’s Church shelter in February 2016.

Here’s a video showing what happens in the church on Fridays when it hosts the shelter…

All this costs money to provide, and to help raise funds, there’ll be a concert at the church at 7.30pm on Friday 1 December, featuring popular classics for cello, voice and piano. For more information about the concert or the shelter, call 07989 740 252 or 020 8854 0841.

Charlton night shelter poster

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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.

The winter shelter at St Thomas’ Church, Charlton still needs you

IMG_2425If you’re a member of the congregation of St Luke’s or St Thomas’ churches, you’ll already know this, but it came as a surprise to some of us: there’s a winter shelter for homeless people in St Thomas’ hall, and still has another six weeks left to run.

The weather can be cruel at the start of the year and while you may see more campaigns around Christmas, the need for shelter is just as pressing now.

Seven churches across Greenwich borough take part in the night shelter project, run by volunteers, with each church opening their doors one night of the week.

St Thomas’, working together with the congregation of St Luke’s, welcomes its guests on Fridays. They arrive at 7pm, are offered showers and a hot meal, breakfast the next morning and a packed lunch to take with them. The hall can hold 15 people and most of these places are usually taken, with between 12 and 15 people normally sheltering for the night.  

Most guests are now regulars, and the volunteers have got to know them well.

We asked James Kinsella, a volunteer at the shelter, to describe the experience of running the shelter in one word, and he chose “humbling”.  

He says volunteers have found the project rewarding and that they have been made “more aware of the plight of the homeless in London”. James says his attitude to homeless people has changed:

I am more aware of the homeless that are on the street in this cold weather, and if I give them some money I don’t cast judgement on how they spend it: if I was out in this cold weather I may need some alcohol to numb the pain

Asked how he thought guests found the shelter, James says he hopes they have found the church hall “a very warm and welcoming place where they are treated with dignity and kindness”.

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If you’d like to support the valuable work that St Thomas’ Church is doing this winter, while there are enough volunteers, the team woud be very grateful for donations.

You can donate food to the shelter by leaving it at the church after 4pm on a Friday, or you can donate money.  The church has a good relationship with its local community and already receives a good amount of food, but it also needs to pay for heating, fresh food and lighting, so money is – if anything – more welcome.  

Cheques should be made out to St Thomas’ PCC and can also be dropped off at the church – the volunteers can give you a written acknowledgement of your donation if they know your name.

‘Halloween Spooktacular’ at Maryon Wilson Animal Park

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Maryon Wilson Animal Park are holding a Halloween event on Saturday November 1st, featuring a tour of the Animal Park, followed by a hot meal, party games, and a showing of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ in St Thomas’ Church.

Tickets can be purchased every morning, 7 days a week, from Charlton Park RDA Hut in Charlton Park. Call: 07877320406 or email: info@maryonwilsonanimalpark.org.uk

UPDATE: Tickets can now be bought online on the Animal Park’s website.