StStephensUnderpass750ATCouncil asks Norwich churches to help rough sleepers 

With church-run winter night shelters proving a success in King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth, the Norwich Christian community are being asked by Norwich City Council to help provide accommodation for rough sleepers in the city throughout the winter months.  

Rough sleeping in Norwich city centre is rising rapidly with Norwich City Council reporting a 60% increase in two years.  Now with winter approaching Norwich churches are being asked by the City Council to help organise a night shelter for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.

Last winter, during the freezing temperatures in February and March, churches partnered with the council by hosting, manning and catering for an emergency night shelter in the Church of St Peter Mancroft and what is now Norwich Central Baptist Church’s Mousehold Hub.

Recently some of the churches involved in providing this emergency accommodation met with council officials to discuss the possibility of organising a more permanent night shelter.  

Rev Mark Fairweather Tall of Norwich Central Baptist Church was at the meeting.  He said: “The question was asked about whether churches in Norwich can pull together to provide shelter for the homeless not just during the most severe weather but throughout the winter, starting in November.

“We discussed some of the practicalities at the meeting. The biggest initial need is to find out which churches would be willing and able to offer floor space. There are more practicalities to be sorted but there are a team of people ready to help with this if we can do it.”

“Churches in King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth have come together to offer something like this, which is why the council is coming to us now.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if the Christian church could take a lead on serving in this way? It might seem like a big ask but if we pull together, working with other organisations and praying to the God who multiplies our little, who knows what can be done?”

Church representatives interested in being involved are encouraged to find out more and discuss possibilities at a meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 10.30am at Norwich Central Baptist Church.
Photo: 'St Stephens underpass - Sergiusz Meges' (cropped) © Copyright Evelyn Simak and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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