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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org