Opening up to help the homeless

By Dan Santy Wednesday 21 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 09:01

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Buy photos » Winter shelter - left to right - Steve Jones, Brian Coleman and Rev Michael Bochenski at John Lees Hall. 45.011.037.rug.jg1

HOMELESS people will again be offered shelter this winter.

Charity Hope 4 is opening up its Winter Shelter from December 1 to March 31 at church halls across Rugby for a second time.

In partnership with Revive, which unites churches in the town, a different church will open its doors each night to people who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

Volunteers at Hope 4 opened up its centre on Church Street in 2010 to provide people with a place to go for hot meals and advice.

Chairman Rev Michael Bochenski said: "After demonstrating clearly the need for this kind of shelter in Rugby during the winter months last year, it soon became clear to us we need to plan to do this for the forseeable future.

"So this winter I am very pleased to say that we will again be able to offer shelter, warmth and hospitality to rough sleepers in the town as any caring community should."

Last year the Winter Shelter provided a total 56 people in need with a bed, evening meal and breakfast for more than 800 nights - people who would otherwise have been sofa surfing or sleeping rough.

Of those 56, the charity, working with the council and housing agencies, helped 18 of them to secure a place to live, and some are now in full-time employment.

Pete Wayman, senior support worker at the Hope Centre on Church Street, said: "It was the Winter Shelter that first revealed their need, and we were then able to act. We want to do the same this winter too.

"We are determined in Rugby no-one should sleep rough on our streets during cold weather and we are even more determined to do all we can to ensure no-one will die on our streets because of neglect, ill health or by freezing to death."

Guests who wish to use the shelter this year should first be directed to the Hope Centre on Church Street.

Dr Bochenski added: “When I first came to Rugby I was told rough sleeping is only a serious problem in larger cities like Coventry or Birmingham. Our experience last winter told us a different story.

"It has been marvellous then to see this project coming together again this year with so much goodwill from church and community."

Contact Hope 4 on 01788 572456 or visit www.hope4.org.uk for more information.

*Overnight shelter will be available at the following places from December 1:

Sunday - Rogers Hall, St John the Baptist Church, Deerings Road, Hillmorton

Monday - St Marie's Church, Dunchurch Road.

Tuesday - St Andrew’s Church hall, Church Street.

Wednesday - John Lees Hall, Rugby Baptist Church, Regent Place.

Thursday - Harvest Fellowship, Albert Street

Friday - Rugby Salvation Army, Bennfield Road.

Saturday - Rugby Methodist Centre, Russelsheim Way.

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