Church tackles Yarmouth homeless problem
2010: A Great Yarmouth church group is launching a new charity to tackle the town’s growing crisis of homelessness.
The founding members and current trustees are a group of seven Christians from Park Baptist Church who all have a heart for the homeless and needy, and want to help by offering short term accommodation and food, and assistance to contact the appropriate agencies to enable longer term stability.
The volunteers hope local guesthouses will get on board with the initiative by offering concessionary rates.
Gary Saunders, who volunteers with Park Baptist Church's weekly drop-in which regularly attracts 30 visitors, is helping set up the charity. Gary said, "Our charity it still in its early stages of existence and is called GYbeeandbee, GY because it will only operate in Great Yarmouth, and beeandbee for Bed and Breakfast or Baptism and Belief."
Gary explains why the group decided to take action, "We have all been volunteers at the Park Friendship Centre for a number of years, and on occasion have been able to assist visitors to our centre to find somewhere to stay rather than having to sleep rough. However one evening we were visited by one couple, and despite numerous phone calls, were unable to help them which was so frustrating that we decided we must do something about it, because if we failed, at 8 or 9 pm there is no-one else to go to. In the end, another visitor to the centre gave them shelter, and they were able to find something more permanent the next day."
The group held their first meeting on 6th October and decided to set up the charity to offer up to three nights bed and breakfast accommodation to people who would otherwise have to sleep on the streets or on the beach, provided in conjunction with pre-approved guest houses in the town, and then the following working day would assist them to contact the appropriate agencies to arrange something on a more permanent footing.
Gary said, "To all of the founding members, mission is a key part of our faith, and it was just a coincidence that we all happened to be on duty that night - or Godincidence, as our Pastor would say!. If we can help others when they are at their most desperate and needy, what better time is is to try and restore their faith in human nature and attempt to rebuild their confidence. We will all have times in our lives when we need help, and if those we help remember sometime in the future that they were helped by Christians, then perhaps we may have an even more lasting effect on their lives than a few nights bed and breakfast."
The establishment of the charity is still in its early stages but they are hopeful of being up and running by Christmas.
If people would like to help or donate, please contact the charity on email@example.com
The group would appreciate prayer support too.
Pictured above: some of the GYbeeandbee committee. L to R: Gary Saunders, John Dixon, Elizabeth Saunders, Susan Lewis, Alistair Robson