Emergency night shelter set up for homeless during cold weather

PUBLISHED: 16:04 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 28 February 2018

Barry Edwards and M.Amelia Eikli who are setting up an emergency night shelter at the Friends Meeting House, corner of Oxford Street and High Street, Weston-s-Mare.

Barry Edwards and M.Amelia Eikli who are setting up an emergency night shelter at the Friends Meeting House, corner of Oxford Street and High Street, Weston-s-Mare.

Archant

A temporary night shelter has been launched in a bid to keep Weston-super-Mare’s rough sleepers from ‘dying of hypothermia’.

Quakers at the Friends Meeting House, off the High Street, swung its doors wide open and welcomed the town’s homeless during the severe weather.

Barry Edwards and his team served up dinner and breakfast to eight rough sleepers on Tuesday night when the town was hit by snow.

He said: “While the weather is so bad, we are opening a temporary night shelter for the town’s homeless this week.

“A lot of us woke up this morning and said how cold it was, and that was in our own homes with a roof over our head.

“We had to do something quickly as it was unacceptable.”

The group already hosts a soup kitchen in the winter months alongside Somewhere To Go and Victoria’s Kitchen.

Barry added: “It is important we make it a community facility. We would ideally like to set up a permanent night shelter but this is the first step.

“At least this way we prevent people dying of hypothermia in the streets.

“It is a necessary thing to do while the temperatures are low.”

The Quakers have been in contact with the council over the past few days which has supported them in their plight.

Barry added: “The council has been amazing in its support and we have simply resolved an issue of temporary accommodation for them.

“It does an awful lot and has helped 633 people last year but it is all a matter of engagement and if the people want help.”

The night shelter is open from 7.30-9pm to take in rough sleepers with a capacity for 40 people.

Hands Of Change and Weston Homeless showed their support for the Quakers by donating food, blankets and hot water bottles for the night shelter.

Barry said: “I am so pleased we could do this and it is a tribute to our trustees who have allowed us to do it at such short notice. This was absolutely necessary and we will remain open as long as the temperatures are this cold.”

The night shelter is open again tonight (Thursday) but, due to a morning booking in the hall, breakfast will be served by the Victoria’s Kitchen team, which runs a lunchtime service on Thursdays, from 9pm at Victoria Methodist Church in Station Road.

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