Here at St Luke’s, one of our biggest projects each year is our part in the Islington Churches Cold Weather Shelter. Throughout January-March (the coldest three months of the year), we open our doors each Saturday to offer a bed and meals to homeless people (six other churches in the area cover the rest of the week).
Now the dust has settled on the 2015 project, we’re pleased to report it was another successful season. Over three months, the Islington Nightshelter hosted around 90 guests. As well as food, friendship and a safe, comfortable place to sleep, we also offered services and recreational activities for guests to enjoy. Plus they were able to make use of the shower cubicle and washroom installed last year.
Over 6,000 hours of volunteer time went into making the 2015 Nightshelter run smoothly – as well as many thousands of pounds’ worth of donations of food, clothing and toiletries. Without the involvement of so many members and friends of St Luke’s, the project wouldn’t be possible.
‘As in previous years, guests remarked on how enjoyable they found the St Luke’s ethos of inclusivity,’ says Dan Northam Jones, who runs our part of the project. ‘Two guests in particular were remarkably successful this year. Both had previously failed to engaged with support services. During their stay, they built effective relationships with other outreach agencies and are now housed securely and getting help for their other needs.’
Dan adds: ‘We express enormous gratitude to the many volunteers who make Nightshelter happen – donating and cooking food, speaking to guests, running activities, putting out beds, sorting clothes, washing sheets and much more.’
The biggest thank you of all goes to Dan himself, who has tirelessly run the St Luke’s Nightshelter on a voluntary basis for the last few years – an enormous task, which he’s done with skill, commitment and compassion.
Dan’s job will be taking him overseas for the next couple of years, so he won’t be around to run Nightshelter next year. He’s currently putting together a small team who can keep this vital project going next winter and beyond. Please speak to him if you’d like to help.