Bishop to highlight plight of homeless

The Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, will be visiting a homeless project which faces closure to help raise awareness of the users’ struggles.

Bishop Martyn will also be visiting The Vaughan Centre, the daycare centre run by GEAR Projects in Gloucester, on Monday 15 December to meet users and talk to them about their situations.

Bishop Martyn said: “Homelessness pervades our diocese; sometimes hidden, often overlook, but always there. Shelter organisations provide services relied upon by the homeless community but sadly are coming under increasing financial pressure.”

GEAR is a Gloucester-based organisation striving to relieve sickness, poverty and distress amongst the vulnerable, homeless and street homeless population of Gloucestershire. It offers a range of vital day centre service in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.

An estimated 2,414 people will sleep rough on the streets of the UK on any given day. The life expectancy of a street homeless person is 42 years old compared with 74 for men and 79 for women.

GEAR announced last week that it will have to stop its daycare services at The Vaughan Centre from January unless it can find more funding. It needs £82,000 to keep it running for three days a week over six months.

Bishop Martyn added: “The Vaughan Centre provides a lifeline to many people in need of assistance because they have nowhere to call home. It would be very sad if this is unable to continue.”

During the weeks running up to Christmas, the Diocese has been celebrating schemes supported by its churches, focusing on areas such as hunger, debt and homelessness.

Gloucester Cathedral has opened its doors as a food drop-off point for Gloucester Foodbank in the weeks leading up to Christmas, while Bishop Martyn and members of staff with the Diocese have signed up to Gloucestershire Credit Union.

To find out more about some of the community projects being run by our churches, and to discover how you can get involved visit www.gloucester.anglican.org/church-outreach/christmas.

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