Church in Boston opens doors to homeless


A church in Boston has opened its doors for the first time this year to homeless people, and is appealing for volunteers.

Cenetary Methodist Church has been welcoming those in need into the church hall, in accordance with the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which is triggered when the temperature has been forecast at zero degrees or below for three days.

SWEP aims to get rough sleepers off the streets during periods of below-zero night-time temperatures, by providing emergency overnight accommodation.

If the temperature rises above freezing, the church will not be holding emergency night shelters, but they will resume when the cold weather returns.

Monday, January 2, was the first day this year that doors opened to the homeless community and those in need.

The Rev Neil Vickers, superintendent minister for Boston, said: “This is the fifth year that we have done it. Those who come are very appreciative.

“It is something I think we need to do.”

Members of the homeless community can arrive at the church hall between 10pm and 10.30pm, when they will be given a duvet and a pillow, and a cup of tea or coffee.

Come 8am the following day, people are asked to leave, but they can return that evening depending on the weather conditions and forecast temperature.

Currently, there is a maximum of six people arriving, but in previous years the church hall has looked after up to 19 people for the night.

The emergency night shelters at Cenetary Methodist Church are run by a team of volunteers.

The church is calling for more volunteers to come forward to assist with the emergency night shelters, as teams of about three people are needed each time.

Mr Vickers said: “We really appreciate volunteers who do come in.”

Those interested in volunteering their time to help at the church are asked to call the church administrator on 01205 355543.