A pioneering project is set to provide the growing number of homeless people in King’s Lynn with a safe haven.
Churches Together is working with Lynn-based charity The Purfleet Trust and Imagine Norfolk Together to launch a new winter night shelter in the town.
The pilot shelter, launching next month, is to offer a bed and meals to rough sleepers twice a week during the colder months.
Plans for the shelter were revealed in the summer and a newly-formed steering group appealed for volunteers in September.
Kevan Crane, chairman of the steering group, this week said the new shelter would be based at The Purfleet Trust in St Ann’s Fort.
A scheme co-ordinator, Joanne Dowen, has since been appointed and has already taken up her post.
Mr Crane said: “The shelter will be based at The Purfleet Trust and we are on-track to open next month. Service users will receive an evening meal, hospitality, a bed for the night and breakfast.
“There will be a dining area and allocated rooms with beds which are easy to deflate and store.
“There will be a cafe and other rooms to rest and relax in, as well as a shower and washing room.
“We are not sure on the number of people we can host yet and there is still some work to do.”
The shelter is to open Friday and Saturday nights from 7.30pm to 9am, from December until March, as a pilot scheme.
Mr Crane said he hoped it would become a long-term project, with the shelter opening every winter.
“It very much depends on its success and further funding,” he said.
The steering group has secured enough funding to cover the shelter’s initial set-up costs, including appointing staff.
Mr Crane said he was delighted by the interest shown by volunteers so far.
Further funding bids have been made to help ensure the project will continue and a number of fundraising events are to be held by local churches.
Mr Crane added: “There is a need for a shelter like this in Lynn. The number of rough sleepers has been on the rise in the past year and, through discussions with the borough council and the trusts, we realised there was a growing need for somewhere like this.
“We can’t force homeless people to come, some may actually prefer to sleep rough.
“But, through this pilot we will be able to see if it is the sort of service they would use and benefit from.”
More volunteers are welcome to join the steering group.
Anyone interested in helping out is asked to email Kelly Bowen on email@example.com