Thanks to Winchester Churches Nightshelter, seventeen local people who are currently homeless had a place to celebrate Christmas and see in the New Year.
The Nightshelter, located on Jewry Street, remained open all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day to give residents a place to be and to call their home at a time when other services in the city were closed. This was made possible thanks to the support of volunteers and generous donations from organisations such as Winchester Round Table which funds Bank Holiday openings at the Nightshelter as residents usually only stay on site during the day when attending appointments, training and support sessions.
“At the Nightshelter, we try to make Christmas as special as it can be for our residents,” explained Michèle Price, Chief Executive. “Many of them are experiencing a difficult time in their lives and we are the closest thing they have to a home. By staying open during the festive period, residents know that they have somewhere that they can relax and base themselves. We firmly believe that being without a home shouldn’t mean no Christmas.”
On Christmas Day, a local family volunteered in the kitchen and prepared a delicious roast turkey lunch for the residents from donated food. Kind and thoughtful donations from local churches, schools, community groups and individuals meant that each resident received gifts and cards on Christmas Day. Presents and food were also distributed to the two off-site residences owned by the Nightshelter which provide accommodation for residents as a stepping stone to moving on to independent housing.
Current Nightshelter resident, Paul, commented on celebrating Christmas at the Nightshelter: “The biggest thank you to all helpers, volunteers and staff. I really appreciated that they took time away from their loved ones to come here and help give us a nice Christmas so a very big thank you from the bottom of my heart.”