REDDITCH Baptist Church is to be the severe weather emergency shelter for the town’s rough sleepers this winter.
Running from November until the end of March, the ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol’ will kick in should the night time temperature drop below zero.
Supported by Redditch Borough Council, the service will be run by Caring for Communities and People (CCP) team who estimate up to ten people may have to make use the facility.
“As well as offering shelter there will be a support package to help rough sleepers move on to proper accommodation,” said Wendy Wallace of CCP.
“The facilities here at the Baptist Church are fantastic but we are appealing for more volunteers to join us and for sleeping bags, food, socks, hats and gloves too.”
The need for a local shelter grew out of the winter of 2016-17 when Worcester was chosen as a central shelter, but with transport links difficult, few rough sleepers made the journey to the county capital.
In 2017-18 the ‘Beast from the East’ led to the Ecumenical Centre offering a ‘pop-up’ shelter and Wendy said, given the severity of the weather, lives would have been lost without it.
Last year the Salvation Army Hall took over the mantle and this year it has passed to the Baptist Church in Easemore Road.
Its Pastor Andrew Diaper said: “We’re really excited at the prospect of doing this for Redditch and it’s our aim to make it a real success.
“The Bible tells us to do work to help others who are most in need and to save lives in the winter months that lie ahead.”
If anyone sees a rough sleeper in need they can contact the CCP team via the app www.streetlink.org.uk.
Anyone interested in helping the night shelter either through volunteering or with donations should visit www.ccp.org.uk or call Wendy on 07702 858832 or her colleague Jayne Jones on 07715 632088.