A winter night shelter project for Chesterfield’s homeless people has launched.
Seven local churches are taking part in the important initiative, which started on Saturday and will operate until the end of March next year.
Phil Morton, head of relief of poverty at Derby City Mission – which is leading the project – told the Derbyshire Times: “We’ve already started to see rough sleepers coming into the venues and so far the feedback has been very good.
“People are thankful they’ve got a warm place where they can get food and support.
“This isn’t a solution to homelessness – but what it is doing is getting them to engage and we are then able to build relationships with them to help them to find a more permanent solution to their homeless situation.
“We will do this by working with other agencies and organisations in the town to support the individuals who access the shelter.”
Mr Morton said many enthusiastic volunteers are helping out as part of the initiative.
They are taking to Chesterfield’s streets and informing the town’s rough sleepers about which venue is open to them on a particular night.
Mr Morton added: “If a member of the public sees a rough sleeper in Chesterfield, they can advise them to contact Pathways on Saltergate and staff there will provide them with more information about the winter night shelter project.”
Churches including Grace Chapel, Central Methodist Church and Derby Road Methodist Church are serving as venues.
Chesterfield Borough Council, North East Derbyshire District Council and Bolsover District Council are investing £25,000 in the initiative, which will cost between £30,000 and £40,000 to run – leaving a shortfall of at least £10,000 which needs to be raised locally.
If you would like to donate, call Derby City Mission on 01332 460346 for more information.
Mr Morton also wanted to thank members of the public who have donated items and provided funding for a van as part of the project.
According to latest Government figures, 12 people in Chesterfield were thought to be sleeping rough each night in autumn last year – up from six in 2010.