Ipswich night shelter to help winter's homeless

Seven churches are working together to provide a night shelter in Ipswich for the winter.

They will take it in turns to offer a night's accommodation to homeless people, from December until February.

About 14 volunteers a night will be required to run the service which will accommodate up to 12 people at a time.

The Ipswich Umbrella Trust welcomed the news but said a permanent solution was still needed to help the "entrenched rough sleepers" in the town.

The churches involved are Burlington Baptist Church, Ipswich International Church, Holy Trinity Church, The Salvation Army, Hope Church and a combined shelter from Christ Church URC Baptist Church and St Pancras Church.

'Ground rules'

The Rev Canon Paul Daltry, the minister of church and community engagement in Ipswich, said: "We know there's quite a large number of people who don't have homes, who are difficult to house and over the winter months they've had real trouble.

"We're hoping we can find these 12 beds in addition to the other resources that are available in Ipswich, to try and provide a safe bed."

He said an assessment would be done on each candidate, and that it "gives us a chance to talk with the people, make sure they know what the ground rules are so things go smoothly on the night".

Mr Daltry said he was pleased with the mix of churches involved.

"We're different congregations, we're different denominations but we are one and trying to care for some of the poorest and most disadvantaged in our community."

Roger Fern, chairman of Ipswich Umbrella Trust, said: "What we're still short of is a facility for people who can only be described as entrenched rough sleepers - who actually are not ready to go into a hostel and in the nicest possible way are not ready to go into the temporary churches night shelter either."

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