We were delighted to welcome some very special guests to our latest housing project this week. Tom and Sylvie Blyth came for a cup of tea and to see how our new rental home for independent living, which will act as a move-on property for four tenants who are ready to leave the Nightshelter, is progressing.

In 2016 the Nightshelter was gifted an incredible £500,000 donation by the military charity the DEFLOG VQ Trust, which the Blyths set up in memory of their son Ben, after he sadly died in 2010. Ben suffered from a complicated and incurable mental health condition, and spent many years struggling to find his place in the world. He experienced homlessness, at first in London, and then in Winchester, where he stayed several times at the Nightshelter, as well as receiving support from the local Trinity Centre. Ben’s father, Tom, paid tribute to the Winchester charities that helped Ben; “After the harsh years on the streets in London he found help, care and compassion from the many charities that so distinguish Winchester as a place of Christian charity, including the Nightshelter and the Trinity Centre.”

After the Trust was wound down in 2017, this unprecedented donation was given to the Nightshelter to, in Tom’s words, “help relieve the needs of people who are at risk of becoming socially excluded” in the way that Ben was.

We are extremely grateful to the Blyths and the DEFLOG VQ Trust for all their support, without which it would not have been possible to launch our second rental home for independent living. The donation, which the Nightshelter has used to purchase the rental house, is helping us to expand and develop our work at a time when demand for our services is greater than ever before. The project welcomes its first tenants, who will move into the four-bedroom property having already stayed at the Nightshelter, later this summer.

Read more about the launch of the project here.

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