Here at St Luke’s, one of our biggest projects each year is our part in the Islington Churches Cold Weather Shelter (overseen by CARIS: www.carisislington.org). Throughout January-March (the coldest three months of the year), we open our doors each Saturday night/Sunday morning to offer a hot meal, a bed and a cooked breakfast to homeless people (six other churches in the area cover the rest of the week).
We’re pleased to report that 2017 was another successful season for Nightshelter. We hosted around 14 guests each week (around 100 in total). As well as home-cooked meals and a safe, comfortable place to sleep, guests were able to make use of the shower cubicle and washroom, which we installed a couple of years ago for this purpose. We also offered recreational activities and other services.
Around three quarters of this year’s guests moved onto other accommodation, such as supported housing, hostels, rented accommodation or returning to family or friends. This shows the vital role the project plays in helping to break the cycle of homelessness. One guest said of the warm hospitality he enjoyed at St Luke’s: “It’s that little bit of love – it makes all the difference, especially when you’ve never had it.”
Over 6,000 hours of volunteer time went into making the 2017 Nightshelter run smoothly – as well as thousands of pounds’ worth of donations of food, clothing and toiletries. Without the involvement of so many members and friends of St Luke’s (inside and outside the congregation), the project wouldn’t be possible, so thank you to everyone involved. A very special thank you goes to Dan, Sarah, Emma, Stef, John and Rosa, who ran our part of the project and coordinated our many volunteers with skill, commitment and compassion.