WINTER 2022

Our winter shelter opened on Monday 03 January 2022 and will run until the morning of 01 April 2022.  During the first week we provided 120 hot meals (including meals for volunteers who have eaten at the table with our guests).


We have seen 33 different people so far at our afternoon and evening sessions, keeping them warm, fed and comfortable and encouraging them to interact with other services who can support them with their ongoing needs.

  We are currently providing:

 

  • Afternoon support for our guests, including hot drinks, snacks and signposting to other services as needed.                        Maidstone Borough Council have continued to accommodate the majority of rough sleepers this winter, so we have        only had one overnight guest to date.  However, we will also use our afternoon sessions to register people who need a bed for the night if the council are unable to accommodate them for any reason, or unable to accommodate them at short notice. 

  • Evening sessions where we provide hot meals and support for people who are street homeless, plus those in temporary accommodation and others IN NEED of a hot meal. 

  • If/when we have overnight guests, we will provide breakfast and a packed lunch to set them up for the day, before they leave the premises.

 

We are  pleased to have many willing volunteers to support our work.  Our volunteer application process for this season has now closed. 

CHRISTMAS DAY 2021

 On Christmas Day we worked together with The Salvation Army to provide a sit-down Christmas dinner for people who were homeless or in temporary accommodation.  This offer of a Christmas meal also extended to those who would otherwise have been alone on Christmas Day.  The meal was really appreciated and our guests enjoyed the company over the lunchtime period, rather than spending Christmas Day alone.  

 

MEALs and support fOR WINTER 2020-21 - Covid 19

As we were unable to offer our usual overnight accommodation during Winter 2020-21 due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic, we provided hot, home-cooked takeaway meals for people who had been placed in temporary accommodation/rooms, plus anyone else in need of a hot meal. 

 

With the support of local churches and a few of our 'home cook' volunteers, we were able to offer our meals as a drop-in service on two afternoons each week,  from Union Street Methodist Church.  At these sessions, we also offered food parcels for essential items and chatted to our guests to ascertain any additional support they may need.  In this way, we were able to refer them to other support services as required.

 

We also offered our home-cooked meals from The Salvation Army Food banks on Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons, with the aim of reaching a larger number of people in need.  Our meals were handed out with the usual food parcels  distributed by The Salvation Army.    

 

The need for food was far greater than we had anticipated, due to the impact of the pandemic and the fact that so many people were on furlough or had lost their jobs/homes.   In total, we distributed over 1550 home cooked meals (dinners AND puddings).

Throughout this time we continued to work with Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) and other agencies, to ensure there was a joined-up approach to assisting Rough Sleepers and Homeless in the town.

All work was undertaken within the Covid guidelines to ensure that, between us all, we were able to help those most in need. 

HELP OUT TO EAT OUT 

Homeless charities warn that, across the UK, the number of rough sleepers could increase significantly as a result of the Covid pandemic.

 

 Council Housing support helps the homeless survive the winter, but the experience can be isolating. 

Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter work with Maidstone Borough Council and with the Outreach Team.

As you can see from the information above, MCWS provided hot, home-cooked takeaway meals during winter 2020-21, but we were unable to provide our usual overnight accommodation. 

 

For winter 2021-22 we plan to provide overnight accommodation as we did pre-Covid, but in a different manner.  We will not be providing dormitory style sleeping arrangements in church halls for our guests, but will be renting a house for our overnight guests instead.  This will help to ensure we are able to keep our guests, staff and volunteers as Covid-safe as possible.

 

Our priorities will continue to be the provision of shelter, meals and hospitality/support plus signposting to other services where appropriate (for example, counselling).

If you wish to make a financial donation to support our work, please click on the Donate button below. 

 

Help out to Eat out: £10 pays for a home-cooked meal plus a takeaway breakfast pack for one of our guests next winter.  If you wish to help, donations can be made here:

The Winter Shelter makes a big difference to the lives of people who, in circumstances often beyond their control, find themselves homeless.

According to Crisis, the true number of rough sleepers is far greater than those reported and its own research predicts considerable increases in numbers of street homeless by 2026, if nothing changes. This is on top of those people already sleeping in tents, cars, trains and buses.

 

Whilst homelessness continues in Maidstone, Kent, Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter will be there to provide help and support, working alongside other agencies and organisations, including volunteers and team members.  

Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter is a member of

 

Homeless Link:

 

Homeless link logo.png

We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4.19

get in touch

Thanks for submitting, we will be in touch shortly.