Steps made to create homeless night shelter as working group formed

A group of homeless people living in shelters on Weston seafront have been on the receiving end of c

A group of homeless people living in shelters on Weston seafront have been on the receiving end of community support in recent weeks. - Credit: Archant

A homelessness working group has been formed to help create a night shelter for Weston-super-Mare.

Members of Somewhere To Go, Victoria’s Kitchen, Emmanuel Church and St Paul’s Church met at Victoria Methodist Church, in Station Road, on Friday to look at ways of tackling the issue.

The church-run groups were joined by representatives from the YMCA, North Somerset Council, Addaction, Comfort At Christmas and others to listen to talks by people who had already established shelters.

Deacon Gary Hoare chaired the meeting, which saw more than 30 people listen to Jonathon Lee, from Bristol’s Crisis Centre, and Gareth Jones from Wallich in Cardiff.

Mr Hoare said: “It is not going to happen overnight and homelessness is not going to get any better, it will only get worse because of the climate we live in.

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“We need to get ourselves ready. It is about taking a step at a time and, with this insight, we can now move forward.”

Wallich operates a night shelter in Cardiff from November to the end of March for the city’s 70 rough-sleepers. It runs in a five-bedroom house which sleeps 12 people.

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Mr Jones said the charity worked alongside the local authority to set up the shelter and rough-sleepers are referred through the council.

Crisis chief executive Mr Lee said his charity operates differently, working alongside the church on two types of shelter.

He said: “We offer a women-only shelter, Spring Of Hope, which we launched in 2011, which offers a safe and comfortable space for female rough-sleepers.

“We also work with churches who host a night shelter throughout the winter months.”

The group will now look into locations, costs, volunteers and council backing for its own shelter.

At its most recent count the council recorded four rough-sleepers in Weston, all of which have been offered help.

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