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Life-saving impact of King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter 

The King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter, an initiative set up by Churches Together in King’s Lynn, has published an Impact Report reviewing their life-saving provision, open seven nights a week from 1 November 2018-31 March 2019.

The King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter, a project set up by Churches Together in King’s Lynn and Imagine Norfolk Together in 2017, provided a warm welcome to the town’s homeless population every night during the five months of November 2018-March 2019.

The project’s Impact Report, published last week, records one female guest’s comments as: “The Night Shelter has helped me in every single way I can think of. It got me off amphetamines … The regular food, shelter and care made all the difference. People listened and even helped me with my medical needs … Now I’m in another hostel for a month and after that I will get support towards a place of my own, which will be adapted for my needs … If it wasn’t for the Night Shelter I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would probably be on the street dead. I feel fantastic now – I sincerely mean it”.

Based consistently at 5 St Ann’s Fort the Night Shelter received an average of 20 guests per night, and 97 guests in total (81 men and 16 women) over the winter months. Guests were served a hot evening meal and, on weekends, a cooked breakfast.

The Impact Report describes a host of reasons for people accessing the Night Shelter. It said: “Some came to us in desperation because so much had gone wrong in their lives that they could not be housed elsewhere. Others had come to the UK in search of work but struggled to find it or earn enough to keep them in a tenancy. Some were just out of prison, or hospital. One had been a teacher. Some could not read.”

“We welcomed them, listened to them, gave them a hot meal and a bed, and tried to show them they were people of value, and had friends who cared.”

The Night Shelter was staffed by full-time Project Coordinator Lucy McKitterick, an Assistant Coordinator, three further employees to cover shifts and a part-time cleaner.  The operation was made possible by funding from King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, King’s Lynn Mayor’s Charity of the Year Appeal, a mix of local and national Trusts and local donors.

A team of 130 trained volunteers donated a total of over 6,500 hours to the project with 3 or 4 volunteers covering each shift.  The report said: “100% of volunteers who responded said they would recommend volunteering to a friend. All but one (who wasn’t sure yet!) said they’d like to help again next year.”

The Right Rev Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn and Patron of the Night Shelter, said: “I have been hugely impressed by the sheer number of volunteers helping over the winter of 2018/19, by the strong sense of compassion and commitment shown both by everyone involved, and by the stories and comments coming back from those who stayed. Jesus told us he was to be found in those who need our help and support – it is heartening to see how he was met, welcomed, housed and nourished in the 97 people who came to us this last year”.

The Night Shelter will open for a new winter season of five months, on 31 October 2019 at a cost £90K and donations, great and small, would be gratefully received.

To read the KLWNS Impact Report in full please click here. 



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