Helen Grant MP, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, helped to launch the Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter campaign last Monday, and joined volunteers in the United Reformed Church to offer her support on the opening night.
The pilot project, designed to offer homeless people in Maidstone a place to stay during the coldest months of the year, will initially operate until the 23rd February 2014, and will see hospitality, a hot meal, and overnight shelter, being provided every evening.
Seven church buildings are being used on a rolling basis, with the United Reformed Church, St Faith's, Quaker Hall, Maidstone Baptist Church, St Luke's, the Salvation Army Hall, and the Tonbridge Road Methodist Church, taking it in turns to accommodate people in need.
With further support coming from councillors and partner agencies, such as Porchlight and the Salvation Army, the Winter Shelter campaign is also able to offer help in finding more sustainable housing and reconnecting homeless people with the appropriate support services.
Since it began on Monday, the Winter Shelter campaign has been operating at full capacity, with some homeless people having to be found alternative provision.
Speaking from the United Reformed Church, Helen Grant MP said:
"I am delighted to have been able to volunteer on the first night of such an important campaign aimed at helping some of the most vulnerable in our society. There is clearly a real need for winter shelter for Maidstone's homeless and I sincerely hope that this initiative not only raises awareness of a serious issue, but helps efforts to find a sustainable solution."
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