The people of Chesterfield are being urged to support a winter night shelter project for the town’s homeless people.
Eight local church venues will take part in the initiative, which is being led by Derby City Mission and will operate between December 1 and March 31.
Chesterfield Borough Council, North East Derbyshire District Council and Bolsover District Council are investing £25,000 in the project, 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.
Phil Morton, head of relief of poverty at Derby City Mission, said: “Opening up venues around the town will allow people who would otherwise sleep on the street come in, get warm, be dry, be cared for and given something to eat and drink.
“This isn’t a solution to homelessness – but what it is doing is getting them to engage and we are then able to build relationship 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.
“I see the night shelter as part of the pathway that gets people out of sleeping rough and into accommodation that works for them, with the support and care they may need along the way.”
He added: “I think there is a lot of interest in Chesterfield to help in this way.
“For many people they see a homeless people and want to help but don’t always know the best way to do that.
“But by coming and volunteering or giving items or financial donations to the project, people will know they are making a genuine and real difference in the lives of these people, which is what we all want.”
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.
The Derbyshire Times understands the winter night shelter project will deal with genuine homeless issues rather than anti-social problems.
Derby City Mission operates a night shelter project in Derby.
Its website states: “Working with an army of volunteers, we provide safe accommodation and a substantial meal for up to 35 guests each night during the coldest months of the year (December to March).
“Working in partnership with seven churches in or near the city centre, we provide a welcoming venue, each opening their doors for one night each week.
“As guests bed down for the night in new, warm sleeping bags and blankets, night staff are there to offer support and prayer throughout the night.
“Before leaving at 8am the next morning, guests tuck into a healthy breakfast of cereals, toast and fresh fruit.
“Many are given ongoing support to address their needs.”
How can you help the project?
You can volunteer to help out at the night shelters. For more information about volunteering, contact Mr Morton by calling 01332 460346 or emailing email@example.com.
You can donate items. Toiletries, sleeping bags, new socks, new underwear and hats and gloves are needed. For more information about donating items, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can financially support the project. Donations can be made direct through the initiative’s bank account – its account number is 00029893 and its sort code is 40-52-40.
Which church venues are taking part in the project?
So far, it has been confirmed that these church venues are taking part in the project:
- Grace Chapel
- Central Methodist Church
- Friends Meeting House
- Derby Road Methodist Church
- St Leonards Spital
- Holy Trinity Church
Each of the participating venues will be open one night of the week for the four-month period. Details and maps will be issued to the town's rough sleepers in the week before the venues open.