For the last 5 years, Manna House has coordinated a Winter Shelter project in Kendal. This year it is going to run for an extended period – from Monday 19 November to Sunday 10 March – at six different church venues, with some Shelter teams paired with other churches for their supplies. This year we are also planning to offer some emergency provision, in conjunction with Impact at the South Lakes Foyer, until the end of March, in case of severe weather after the Shelter has closed.
Following a model now used across the country, churches in Kendal offer their premises overnight to the project and teams of volunteers take it in turn to provide an evening meal, bed and breakfast to people who would otherwise have to spend the night on the street in the coldest months of the year.
To use the Shelter, clients have first to visit Manna House, talk to one of our advisors about their situation and sign a guest agreement, after which they are given identification and a map by which to find the Shelter for that night. Our intention is not just to provide one-off shelter but to begin to help people to find a way out of their situation and into stable housing, as well as offering access to other relevant support, for example with alcohol or substance misuse. (The closest referral-free Winter Shelter is run by Christchurch in Lancaster. This is an emergency solution for people not looking for help to find accommodation in the South Lakes.)
Recruitment has closed for this year as training is complete and the Shelter is now open. We are now focussing on putting the final touches to this year’s Christmas Getaway. This comprises four nights away at Rydal Hall in the Lake District, enjoying a family-style Christmas (and lots and lots of generously donated Christmas food!) with a small group of our guests. We have more than enough food and a full complement of enthusiastic residential volunteers but we are still looking for someone to bring a pizza truck or fish & chip van to Rydal on Christmas Eve to feed us all after we finish decorating the youth centre AND someone to lead a workshop/activity session indoors on Thursday 27 December – if you have mobile food emporium or a great skill to share and fancy joining us please get in touch with email@example.com as soon as possible.
You can get a flavour of what last year’s Getaway was like here.