Published: Wednesday, 25th March 2020
Following the national lockdown, due to Covid-19, the King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter building is now being managed by the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk.
It will continue to be used to shelter existing users of the service until suitable accommodation has been found for those people.
Since the shelter opened on 31 October 2019, the charity has given shelter to 101 individuals. Over 6000 hours of volunteer time has been given, to support the staff, saving an estimated £76,000 in wage costs. The shelter has fed its guests entirely from food given by local individuals and groups. Generous donations from individuals and organisations together with finance from the borough council, central government and grant-making bodies have enabled the shelter to run.
A reception at the Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor, to thank volunteers, staff and partners has been postponed given the current restrictions, but it is hoped that this will take place later in the year.
Lucy McKitterick, co-ordinator of the shelter said, "It has been wonderful to see King's Lynn and West Norfolk come together to support our homeless this winter and we are delighted to be able to support the council by offering the Night Shelter building for this extended service. The current crisis has made the reality of life on the streets a special concern and it is good to see that the homeless will be given this extra help in a time of great need. The running of the Winter Night Shelter has been made possible because people have given sacrificially of their time and resources. Their kindness is a powerful sign of hope in difficult times ".
Fr Adrian Ling, Chair of Trustees, also paid tribute: “This year has been especially challenging, with damage to the building caused by Storm Ciara, and the Covid-19 virus outbreak. The co-ordinator, staff and volunteers have done great work to ensure the delivery of this vital service. We are very pleased that the borough housing department has been vigorous and pro-active in addressing the problems of homelessness, and moved swiftly to provide ongoing provision.”
Cllr Adrian Lawrence, cabinet member for housing, said: “Once again the work of the Churches Together group has been invaluable at looking after some of the most vulnerable in society through the winter months.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has led to a handover of the building to the borough council. Our housing team will continue to run the service for existing users only until suitable accommodation has been found.
“If you are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, and need assistance please phone us on 01553 616200. Out of hours you should call 01553 616601. To help control the spread of Coronavirus and to keep our staff safe, we're no longer accepting visits from the public to council offices.”
People can also contact the borough council through the live chat option online or by emailing email@example.com.