For the last 3 years, Manna House has coordinated a Winter Shelter project in Kendal.
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.
This year the Kendal Shelter will be open once again from the beginning of December to the end of February and we have managed to fit 6 different church venues into the weekly schedule this time.
This year the Shelter will close between 24 and 27 December to give the volunteers and venues a break but guests who wish to will be able to spend this time with us at Rydal Hall, enjoying a real family Christmas in beautiful surroundings, on our Christmas Getaway.
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.
Last year we had a team of over 60 volunteers and help was also given in kind by other churches in the form of food, bedding and other vital supplies.
We have been overwhelmed by the response to this year’s recruitment campaign, from Kendal and further afield. The training of over 100 volunteers finishes next Monday and our Team Leaders are starting to get their teams together and work out the rotas for the winter.
The next event on our calendar is the Shelter Eve Service to celebrate the Winter Shelter and pray for the volunteers and guests over the next three months, that we will all grown and learn from our experience of spending time together. This short service will take place at 7pm on Thursday 30 November in the Bellingham Chapel at the Parish Church in Kendal and everyone is, of course, welcome!
To find out more about how you, or your organisation, could support the Shelter (perhaps by donating food, camping mats or perhaps giving some financial support to this year’s Christmas Getaway), please email the Winter Shelter Coordinator or ring 01539 725534 and talk to Lois.
Winter Shelter Volunteer Application Form (Word file)
Winter Shelter Volunteer Application Form (PDF file)