Croydon Churches’ Floating Shelter… offering hope to the homeless through faith in action.
During the winter months the various churches of Croydon work together to offer accommodation and meals to people who would otherwise be on the street. The shelter ‘floats’ from one centre to another, with guests staying at a different venue each night of the week. In November and December the churches in Coulsdon collaborate in this venture to offer a roof, a comfortable bed and hot meals at St Aidan’s church hall on Thursday nights. Our homeless guests are able to enjoy good home cooking and opportunities to chat, play board games, relax, feel safe and keep warm. The shelter also helps guests to connect with social services and other support organisations.
If anyone would like to lend support in some way to the marginalised of our community there are many ways to help. There are separate teams of volunteers for different tasks: setting up the hall (5.30–7pm); staffing the kitchen (6.45–10.30pm); chatting with guests (6.45–10.30pm); supervising overnight (10pm–7am); preparing and serving breakfast (6.30–8am) and finally packing up and cleaning the hall (8–9am). Additionally there are jobs that are done by individuals at home: laundry and preparing meals to be served on the night. All jobs are on a rota basis so you can help as little or as much as you like. Volunteers all say that the shelter is tremendously enjoyable and meets a significant need.
Each September we trawl for volunteers for the opening of our season in November and ask for specific interest and availability.
Many groups and individuals in the various Coulsdon churches have in the past offered much-needed donations of provisions and funds for the shelter. St Aidan’s School regularly supports us with their harvest collection of goods, the Brownies and Guides of the parish engage with us and individual benefactors and proceeds from parish social events have boosted our funds enabling us to provide a better service to our homeless guests. If any group would like to offer such help in the future do please let us know so that we can plan and make best use of our resources.
Leonie Wilding – Croydon Churches’ Floating Shelter Co-Ordinator for the Churches Together in Coulsdon firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen Lee – St Aidan’s Contact email@example.com