St Martin's Housing Trust
St Martin’s Housing Trust
is appealing to Norwich
churches to help find new volunteers to run its annual street collection in the city in mid-December.
Last year the Christmas appeal raised £25,000, of which £20,000 was collected on the streets by volunteers.
"The appeal cash is used to help the homeless and goes to help those who come to us off the street and go in the first instance to the Bishopbridge House direct access facility," said trustee Nick Williams.
St Martin's Housing Trust which started with the Night Shelter came about because the then Dean, Alan Webster sent a curate from St Francis, Heartsease to count the number of people sleeping rough in Norwich each night for a month.
This was in the early 1970s. His findings led to the Bishop's Council for Social Responsibility to establish the Night Shelter, first in St James (now the puppet theatre) and then in St Martin's at Oak Street. Since then it has been a refuge for homeless people supported by many churches, the city council and beyond.
Each night St Martin's Housing Trust provides various types of accommodation, food and support for up to 150 single homeless people in Norwich.
To provide this accommodation St Martins has a direct access hostel at the bottom of Gas Hill open to all, two care hostels and a number of shared houses for people wanting more self-contained accommodation. In addition its Contact, Assessment and Prevention Service (CAPS) is out on the streets every evening helping those who still sleep rough.
“Although we have provided help for the homeless for over 30 years there is still a huge need for our work people are still found sleeping rough,” said Nick.
“St Martins receives support from the various statutory bodies that it works closely with but relies on raising money from the general public. As part of its efforts a street collection is held in Norwich each December which provides much needed income. The more collectors there are out the more can be collected and the more help can be given to the homeless. I am now looking for additional volunteers as long-standing helpers get older and less able to help with the collecting.”
If you can spare an hour or two to help with the street collection between December 9 and 23 contact Nick Williams on 01603 300371 or e-mail him
If you would like to support the rebuilding of St Martin's House please send donations to St Martins Housing Trust, 35 Bishopgate, Norwich, NR1 4AA or donate via the website www.stmartinshousing.org.uk
Pictured top is the direct access hostel, Bishopbridge House on Gas Hill. and, above, Martin's House in Westwick Street, Norwich.