Warm Welcome For Homeless

Mike Jessop, church coordinator, volunteer Elizabeth Holland, and Rev Neil Vickers in one of the rooms being used as a night shelter. GG

Mike Jessop, church coordinator, volunteer Elizabeth Holland, and Rev Neil Vickers in one of the rooms being used as a night shelter. GG

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THE season of goodwill is in no short supply at a Boston church which has opened its doors to give emergency overnight shelter to the town’s homeless – including a heavily-pregnant woman.

Centenary Methodist Church is offering temporary shelter during the freezing conditions and since opening last week, has given a dozen people a roof over their heads.

The initiative was set up by Churches Together, Boston and is run by staff and volunteers at the church, in Red Lion Street.

Superintendent minister the Rev Neil Vickers, told The Standard: “With the cold snap suddenly turning on us we felt we really had to do something to help those in need.

“Boston does have a homeless problem and it’s a very sad situation for those sleeping rough out there.”

In a tale with parallels to the Nativity story, one of those who sought shelter at the church is a seven months-pregnant woman of ‘no fixed abode’.

“We don’t know a lot about her,” Mr Vickers said. “She and a man accompanying her stayed the first night with us but haven’t been back since. There is concern as she’s so heavily pregnant and possibly sleeping rough.”

Two rooms inside the church have been allocated for the shelter, with people bringing in their own bedding materials and sleeping on the carpeted floor.

Volunteers sit on duty in the church each night, taking it in turns to stay awake.

Mr Vickers added: “We simply wouldn’t be able to provide this shelter without volunteers and the response we’ve had from church members in the town, and also non church-goers, has been brilliant.”

The church currently has space to shelter about 30 people with toilet facilities and hot drinks on hand.

The doors open at 10pm and shut at 10.30pm with all out by 8am. It will stay open until temperatures rise above freezing.

l The church operates a soup kitchen for the needy on Saturdays 5.30pm-7.30pm and Wednesday lunches from 12.30pm.

l To volunteer contact Mr Jessop on 01205 355543.

l Do you think this should be a permanent facility in Boston? Email rebekah.gunn@jpress.co.uk