Volunteers and donations needed at 24-hour shelter for Newham rough sleepers this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:39 10 December 2019
A community project will provide rough sleepers with round-the-clock shelter, food and companionship this Christmas and New Year period.
Stratford Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Docklands Settlements will run a 24-hour shelter at The Carpenters and Docklands Centre in Gibbins Road, Stratford from 2pm on Christmas Eve until 2pm on January 2, 2020.
Last year, the shelter provided 75 guests a night with warm beds and a total of 130 people each day with hot meals, health checks, clothing donations and other support.
The shelter will be supported by the council's outreach team, who will offer person-centred support, assess needs and engage guests with vital services such as health, housing, benefits, and help to retrieve lost documents.
The council will also contribute towards the running costs for the shelter.
With Christmas fast approaching, organisers are looking for volunteers to help out at the shelter as well as donations for the rough sleepers.
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Newham street population manager Ajitha Sajeev said: "People who volunteered last year said they got so much out of the experience and how much they enjoyed being able to give something back.
"It is really important, especially at times like the festive period, to let some of our most vulnerable residents know that they are not alone and there is real care and compassion in this borough.
"I would definitely encourage anyone who is able to offer even a small amount of time to sign up for a volunteer shift, and I promise you will get more out of it than you can possibly imagine."
There are many volunteering roles to fill, such as helping to cook and prepare meals, distributing clothes and shoes, sharing skills as a health or social care professional, or simply having a chat to those accessing the shelter and helping out as needed.
The shelter is also accepting donations to support rough sleepers in the borough.
Goods include clean clothes, new toiletries, bath towels, first aid kits, tinned food, new underwear and socks, woolly hats and scarves, and coats.
Donations can be dropped to The Carpenters and Docklands Centre between 10am and 5pm weekdays from Tuesday, December 10.
Visit signup.com/go/DOKAgbm to sign up to volunteer.