Churches take a stand against homelessness

Worshippers from around 16 different churches in Gloucester including Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Salvation Army, have started a project to deliver hot soup, blankets and clothes to the homeless.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening until Good Friday, volunteers have committed to visiting those who are sleeping on the streets..

Around 10 to 15 people are rough sleeping on the streets of Gloucester this January and there could be more who have not been found. As temperatures drop and the weather takes a turn for the worse, help is desperately needed.

Cate Williams, Mission and Evangelism Officer at the Diocese of Gloucester said: “Reaching out to people who are having a difficult time is an essential part of our Christian ministry and we hope that this will begin to make a difference. The soup run comes in the context of other work with the homeless which directs towards long-term support. At this time of year it is has to be a priority to meet the immediate needs and ensure that people are as safe and well as possible given the reality of their situation.”

“We have been delighted that 50 willing volunteers from so many different churches who are willing to give their time to make sure these people are not forgotten.”

Dave Kinghorn of Gloucester City Mission says the homelessness situation in Gloucester has definitely worsened in recent years.

“In 2006/7 when we did night counts to see how many people were sleeping rough, it was about four or five people.  In the October 2013 night count we found 14 people sleeping on the street and now we regularly find eight to 18 people either on the streets or in temporary or emergency accommodation. Wherever they are, we go and find them.”

To volunteer to help or to donate sleeping bags, soup sachets, tea, coffee or sugar, contact cwilliams@glosdioc.org.uk or dave@gloscitymission.org.uk

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