Croydon Churches’ Floating Shelter… offering hope to the homeless through faith in action.
For many years St Aidan’s participated in the Croydon Churches’ Floating Shelter (CCFS) which provided welcome and accommodation for homeless people in church halls during the winter months. The Covid restrictions of 2020 brought a halt to this work and government health objectives continued to make that work impossible over the subsequent two years. When we returned to a more normal way of living, CCFS tried to try to find a way of re-opening the shelter following the Covid disruption. Sadly, it had to conclude that it was not possible to re-open and so we, at St Aidan’s, no longer host our regular Thursday nights in November and December.
There were a number of reasons for this. Many of the churches around the borough which formerly hosted a night in their hall had to drop out, either because of lack of volunteers or because their premises were no longer available. Furthermore, the support of Croydon Council was always necessary for the safe and successful running of the shelter and the council decided that it could no longer provide that support. The council was always closely involved in working with our guests, introducing those to us who could benefit from our welcome and helping to move them on into employment and secure accommodation. Its approach to supporting the homeless is guided now by central government strategy which is to put rough sleepers into single-room accommodation, rather than into a floating shelter, until they can be permanently housed.
The support from parishioners from all the churches in Coulsdon was generous and enthusiastic throughout the ten years of our involvement and sparked the interest of all age groups from children and young people right through to the elderly. For the time being the CCFS responds in other ways to the needs of those on the streets in Croydon. One of these ways is our support to Nightwatch through provision of sandwiches for Nightwatch to distribute to rough sleepers in Queens Gardens, Croydon. We, in St Aidan’s, have taken on Thursday nights in November and December.
Nightwatch have been enormously grateful for our support. They see upwards of 50 clients on an average weekday evening, sometimes 70 or 80 and even more at the weekend.
- Leonie Wilding – Croydon Churches’ Floating Shelter Co-Ordinator for Churches Together in Coulsdon
- Maureen Lee – St Aidan’s Contact