The launch; Supporters of ‘Folkestone’s Winter Shelter’

We are just about to launch a community fund raising drive, which will include the whole community of Folkestone, to show our support for the excellent Winter Shelter.

The winter shelter aims to shelter the homeless for the coldest months of the year. It has been running for three years now. From 03 December this year, seven local churches will each open their doors one night a week, to provide shelter from the cold for any who find themselves homeless.

The winter shelter provide beds, food and hot drinks, positive activities, support in providing long term solutions as well as someone to talk to, using an army of volunteers who give up their time freely. If this didn’t exist we would be reading about homeless people freezing to death on our own streets, which happened in Folkestone in February 2009 when Jeffery Billington, 54, died trying to keep him self warm in sub zero temperatures on Canterbury Road.

This year however, the winter shelter has a serious problem. They have lost their transportation and storage for the equipment they have to move from church to church everyday. I met with project manager, Charlie Oakes, last week who explained that this lack of transportation is a serious threat to the project’s future.

Our fund raising drive initiative is to try and raise enough money so we can buy the winter shelter a van of their own. This will solve their transportation and storage issues for years to come.

We are asking everyone in Folkestone who can help, to put on events or activities that could raise funds for this or support the events that will be taking place.

We have already contacted the main promoters in Folkestone who have all willingly offered to stage gigs in the coming weeks free of charge to raise funds and our heartfelt thanks go to you all. We also have a huge list of local bands who have already offered to play for free at any gig, for which we are eternally grateful.

If you can think of anything you could do to help, clothes swaps, book sales, sponsored events, quiz nights, gigs, or by getting local businesses who have contacts with to donate items we can auction, then please contact us at

We will also be asking for donations of warm sock, underwear (mostly male) deodorant, razors, tooth paste, toothbrushes and new sleeping bags.  Please read the facebook page What’s on Folkestone for the announcement of when and where the drop off point will be in Folkestone.

It is easy to wait for government to step in and sort out the homeless issue, but that is clearly not going to happen any time soon. We however, can make sure that people who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances do not freeze to death this winter on the streets of Folkestone.

We met Jon Wilson, Chief Executive Officer for the Rainbow Centre, a couple of days ago in Googies. He said that this year, more than ever before, the homeless people approaching the center for help represents every single sector of society. He said some of them sit, shaking their heads, wondering how they have come to find themselves in this situation.

It is often said that millions of us are just one sacking and three big arguments away from being homeless. If, through a series of unlucky events, any of us found our selves suddenly homeless I’m sure we would like to think that someone was there to help us. People like the Rainbow Centre and the winter shelter and their volunteers, are the people that do help.

Christmas is approaching like a freight train and it is a time when we tend to reflect on the year that has passed and what our achievements have been, I’m sure that like me, the turkey will taste much nicer knowing that those fellow human beings, unfortunate enough to be homeless at Christmas are safe, warm and fed and that we all, together, played a part in making this happen.

As a community let us show that we take responsibility for what happens here and we are prepared to help and support in any way we can.

Please get in touch


  1. Hi
    I’d like to help out one night and ill drop off some men’s clothes/some thermal bits too just let me know times/dates
    It’s really good something active is being done to help

  2. Jeff billington was my ex father in law. My son is still devastated by his passing. I have a large transit van and would be happy to help. You can see me on the flower stall in town xxx

  3. its so easy to forget how others are living, well done for enlightening myself and hopefully hundreds/thousands more, at the very time they need our support.

    i will be helping out in my own way, with a project that Scott Macbride informed me of.

    Well Done Guys (“,)

  4. Hi
    Its hard to believe that there are so many people homeless in our town, Most assume its only the big cities who have humans sleeping on the street! Its nice to know that they can go to a church for hot drinks and sleep on a bed during December, What about the other cold months of the year! Do they get put out on the streets again once we have eaten our Christmas food?
    I would like to help, not sure how, maybe donate some warm socks, tooth brushes ect, maybe attend some gigs that get set up! Let me know about the drop off points.

    Many Thanks al.

    1. I meant to say that the shelter runs from 03 December until the end of Feb, the three coldest months. I agree the help should be for longer but it is a real struggle to get the funding for those months alone,

  5. ok this may sound crazy but…what about donating tents to the homeless for the nights the churches can’t open or haven’t got room, at least they would be dry. Also your film was about visibility, pitch up on Radnor park and let people see that homelessness is a real problem, maybe even make it into some kind of awareness project, and if the council say no then get the council to suggest where the homeless can stay/sleep. I have some things which I no longer need if anyone is doing a sale of any kind…mainly cd’s at the mo..but I’m sure every little helps x

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