Yarmouth Christians help homeless with Living Room
‘The Living Room’ is a new project, set up by local churches and organisations working in partnership, which started in January in order to provide a safe, warm place for Great Yarmouth’s rough sleepers during the cold winter months.
'The Living Room' is open every Saturday night until the end of March and volunteers provide visitors with a hot meal, a place to chat with volunteers and a warm safe place for the night. The launch was on Saturday January 7, and the project has several regular visitors, with the numbers referred from local organisations gradually increasing.
The initiative was boosted by the Advent Sleepout in Great Yarmouth last December, which raised nearly £3000 towards the new project.
Anna Heydon, Imagine Norfolk Together worker for Great Yarmouth said: "We took part in the Sleepout to not only raise money but also to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and the work that is going on to bring about change.
“We are so thankful for all the support people gave for the Sleepout Challenge. The money people donated has allowed us to employ a Project Co-ordinator who manages referrals, meets visitors in advance and supports them to connect with other services.
Currently we have 20 volunteers fulfilling several different roles from cooking and preparing meals for the visitors to playing board games and chatting with them. We are always looking for more volunteers as we want to increase the support we can give.”
In 2015 it was estimated that as many as 3,569 people were sleeping rough on any given night in England. This number is double the figure for 2010.
Anna continued “We want to make the most of the resources we have in our churches and communities in order to offer a better option to those on the streets or in unsafe accommodation. I am passionate about the fact that no-one should have to sleep on the streets, especially during cold or wet weather. As a Christian I believe that God cares about people who are facing challenges in their lives, and he wants his Church to care about them too, and use what they have to help.”
To read more about the Yarmouth Advent Sleepout, along with pictures, click here.
The Advent Sleepout is an event created by the Church Urban Fund (CUF), where groups across the country are encouraged to give up a night’s comfort to help people struggling with homelessness and marginalisation and raise funds. 20% of the funds raised by the Yarmouth Sleepout went to the CUF. Last year, over 75 Sleepout events took place in churches and communities across the country and raised over £90,000.
The Church Urban Fund (CUF) works to support local churches to bring about change in poor communities by coming alongside those who lack hope or self-belief, to encourage, enable and equip them to take control of their lives. They work with the Together Network, (joint ventures between Church Urban Fund and Church of England dioceses) to support projects including winter night shelters and projects to help homeless and unemployed people into work. Since 2014, CUF has provided over £150,000 for grassroots projects working to tackle homelessness and marginalisation.
To find out more or to donate or volunteer please visit: www.cuf.org.uk/together-norfolk.
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