CHURCHES in Tamworth are opening their doors to provide a winter night shelter for the homeless and rough sleepers for a three month period from December 1 through to February 28.
Tamworth Borough Council is supporting The Starfish Project Trustees and the Tamworth Covenanting Churches with a Homelessness Prevention Grant of £6,000. The funding will contribute towards the night shelter costs and employ a part time project co-ordinator for the three month period.
The Starfish Project successfully completed a winter night shelter trial in February this year. This provided an average of six guests with hospitality and accommodation on each night the shelter was in operation.
All of the town’s churches are involved in the project, seven of which are providing a base for people to spend the night. They include: St John’s Catholic Church, Tamworth; Baptist Church Belgrave; St Barnabas Church, Mile Oak; Elim Church, Glascote; St Peter’s Church, Glascote Heath; Holy Trinity Church Wilnecote and St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Leyfields. Each church will provide the shelter accommodation for one night each week, on a rotating basis. There will be teams of volunteers working in a three shift pattern.
Dr Steve Jonathan, Chair of Trustees for The Starfish Project, said: “Following a successful pilot project last February, we are privileged to now run the Starfish Winter Night Shelter from December 1 to February 28. Our aim is to provide a warm bed, good food and friendship to those who are sleeping rough in our town.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Tamworth Borough Council and other agencies throughout the town, to provide this service to those who are most vulnerable.”
Cllr Michelle Thurgood, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Housing, said: “Homelessness is a national issue and one that is once again unfortunately on the increase. Tamworth Borough Council and Tamworth churches have an ongoing and genuine commitment to help those people who find themselves homeless in Tamworth and to tackle those issues which lead to their homelessness.
“We will continue to ensure reducing homelessness remains a priority in Tamworth and following this year’s Starfish Project success, we are very happy to be supporting this initiative, which means that people will have another option to sleeping outdoors this winter”.
Further information regarding homelessness advice can be found: www.tamworth.gov.uk/homelessness-advice