Westminster Churches Winter Night Shelter
The Westminster Churches Winter Night Shelter opend for its 7th year of operating on October 3rd 2016. This season, we have 13 churches and a synagogue partnering together and we will provide accomodation for rough sleepers for 8 months of the year - from October to May.
The Shelter is one of over 90 similar schemes across the country where churches and other faith groups work together to help rough sleepers come in from the cold during the colder months.
Last season, 2015-2016, was a great year for the project. 63 homeless people used the service, with 39 guests moving into accommodation. 11 guests began paid employment. 6 users were reconnected to relatives in their country of origin, and our project workers at West London Day Centre are still working with the others.
One of these men, an internationally recognised sculptor, became homeless after his car, which he was also sleeping in, was written off during a car accident. With no accommodation and also no way to attend the exhibition series of his work, he came to the night shelter in April. Alongside the Day Centre, the Night Shelter and project workers managed to refer him to a live-in art gallery scheme, which meant he has been able to continue his sculpture work, alongside accommodation.
Another guest, whilst in the Night Shelter, was referred to an employment scheme for those unable to gain recourse to public funds. He is now living in private rented accommodation in North London working as bus driver, even driving the same bus that Peter, the Co-Ordinator of the Westminster Winter Shelter, uses to travel to work!
Since its beginning in 2010, West London Mission has been at the heart of the project. We would like to extend its thanks to the churches and synagogue who are the core partners of the Westminster Winter Shelter:
For ways in which you can help WLM’s work with homeless people, please see here.
For more information about the Westminster Churches Winter Night Shelter, contact the Coordinator, Peter Mwaniki: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the Day Centre see West London Day Centre
(Photo: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)