A team of volunteers will soon be welcoming rough sleepers through the doors of St Osburg’s Catholic Church in Coventry to ensure they are safe and warm again this winter. St Osburg (The Most Holy Sacrament & St Osburg) church is once again taking part in the Coventry Winter Night Shelter (CWNS) project. Run by Coventry Churches, the four-month project provides rough sleepers with a hot meal and a warm bed in a supportive, friendly environment, followed by a breakfast the next day. Each night a different church in Coventry hosts the event, which is now in its fifth year, and helps many people cope through the winter months.
CWNS was launched as a pilot project in 2013 and is now a much appreciated service for those in need. A team of around 12 volunteers will be on hand every Wednesday night at St Osburg’s from 1 December 2017 to 31 March 2018 to welcome visitors in need of help. Those seeking help need to have been referred by the Salvation Army through their team based at Harnall Lifehouse, and up to 20 people are looked after each night by CWNS. Recruitment for this year’s team of volunteers is now well underway, but more are always needed.
Bernardo Canas, project co-ordinator of CWNS, said: “The success of the night shelter project is due to the involvement of hundreds of volunteers across the area. Without them it simply could not happen. “We also rely on grants and private donations – all of which are very much appreciated and put to good use – and the support of other organisations. “The support of our friends from several local churches is simply wonderful. Together we will be making a huge difference to the lives of many people this winter.”
Louisa Hopkins, co-ordinator at St Osburg’s said: “Often there are chances to give money, but few opportunities to help people in a practical way, and CWNS fills the gap. Our volunteers are so happy to be able to help others. “Our guests get a hot, home-cooked meal provided by volunteers, a safe bed and some breakfast. “They also find a bit of hope while they are in the shelter. Chatting with volunteers and relaxing playing cards and board games, they feel like part of society again.”
The churches taking part in the project this winter are:
- Sun: St Margaret’s (Dec-Jan) and St Alban’s (Feb-Mar)
- Mon: St Columba’s Church
- Tues: Methodist Central Hall
- Weds: St Osburg’s
- Thurs: Salvation Army
- Fri: St Oswald’s Church
- Sat: St Columba’s Church
If you are interested and willing to donate to the project, please email Bernardo at firstname.lastname@example.org or his colleague Helen Needham at email@example.com to find out more, or visit http://hopecoventry.org.uk/projects/coventry-winter-night-shelter/
Volunteers need to be aged 18 or over.