24 MAR 2017

Maidstone Winter Shelter

MP Thanks Volunteers and Organisers at Maidstone's Winter Shelter

Helen Grant MP joined volunteers for one of the last Winter Shelter sessions of the season to thank them for their efforts throughout the winter.

Now in its fourth year, the charity aims to support people who have become homeless by taking the uncertainty and stress out of trying to find overnight accommodation during the coldest nights of the winter.

The project is located at a different church in Maidstone on each night of the week, from early January until the end of March (the coldest and most dismal time of the year to be outside). The guests are provided with a warm meal, somewhere safe to stay and people to talk to. The aim is to support them to find more permanent accommodation, a job or training for future employment.

During her visit to the Maidstone Day Centre site, Helen met project workers and the volunteer team, including Sacha Taylor and her team in the kitchen who were preparing dinner for the homeless guests. As it was the last night of the shelter guests received a home cooked roast with all the trimmings followed by homemade lemon meringue pie.

The winter shelter relies on the support of volunteers to donate funds, cook the meals, staff the centre and undertake the house keeping required to keep the operation running throughout the winter. The centre is manned throughout the night with four volunteers having been on duty each and every evening since January.

Helen said, 'It was my absolute pleasure to once again visit Maidstone churches winter shelter. I have attended most years since it began and it is a very successful and worthwhile initiative. I would like to reiterate my sincere thanks to all the volunteers who have supported the project this year, it is very spiriting to see people come together from all different age groups and from across our community to support those in need.'

Alexa Kersting-Woods, project manager of winter shelter said, 'This year's shelter has been full of love, laughter and on occasion tears. Guests are leaving in a much healthier state then when they arrived and some have been supported in training, work and accommodation. During Helen's visit it was great to see how she has a passion for homeless people and how she is keen to help them in whatever way she can.'

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