ICE Advent: Caerphilly Churches Night Shelter
12th December 2016
Night shelter is basically the church providing overnight accommodation to people who are homeless and sleeping rough.
The reason we began to look at the idea of a church night shelter is because in Caerphilly Borough there is no emergency accommodation provision for rough sleepers.
And so Churches Night Shelter fills in the gap in providing safety and refuge for those who do not have the option of temporary or permanent accommodation and who continue to struggle with their cycle of homelessness and sometimes addiction.
The Caerphilly Churches Night Shelter was launched as a Pilot Project in January 2013 and it has grown each year.
Guests receive a welcome, a hot evening meal, a safe clean bed and interaction with other guests and Volunteers.
They also have breakfast and a packed lunch before they leave in the morning.
The provision is based in local Church hall buildings that have basic but adequate facilities.
The Service is entirely manned by volunteers – and received an award for its impact in 2014.
The project is now run on an 8-bed provision – The Project has grown year on year and this year more churches than ever were involved (11) and ran for a 4 month period (Dec 2015 – March 2016).
Our aim is to offer a safe, warm and secure place in a family like atmosphere to anyone over the age of 18 who otherwise would be forced to sleep rough, in any of the areas of Caerphilly Borough. We know that the numbers of people sleeping rough are rising everywhere – as the changes in housing legislation and benefit changes continue to take their toll and people struggle even more to keep up with mortgage and rent payments.
We work closely not just with churches but with existing organizations in and around Caerphilly Borough – particularly the Housing Advice Centre, Supporting people, Cornerstone support services and the Police, in order to meet the needs of the homeless in our area.
It has an impact – here are a couple of things our guests have said …
* MT (46) “I gained so much from my stay. I will never be able to thank them enough. OK, I now have a flat which is brilliant, but I also feel I have people to go to if things go wrong, friends for life”
KF (58) “I genuinely think I would be dead by now if it wasn’t for this”
Working in Night Shelter has been such an amazing experience – we gain so much out of it – not least an understanding that issues around poverty and homelessness are incredibly complex – just listening to peoples stories makes you very aware of how easily this could happen to anyone … and makes you very grateful for all the blessings we have and often take for granted.
Welsh ICE based restaurant, Calon, recently helped out with the Caerphilly Churches Night Shelter by providing roast beef dinners with the generous support of ICE members and customers from the suspended coffee fund.
Find out more about the Caerphilly Churches Night Shelter on their website.