Datchet Church is part of the London & Slough Run And SHOCK Homeless Project. Every winter, from the beginning of January to the end of March, seven local churches open their doors on a rota basis, one night a week church. The purpose is to offer food, shelter and friendship. Guests are assessed before being sent to the Shelter for that night, and training and support for volunteers is provided. The Night Shelter is run by the London and Slough Run
Here in Datchet, the night shelter is
run every Friday night A team of volunteers operate on a rota basis from people willing to cook hot food , sit and talk with the guests or help with preparing for and/or cleaning the Church Community Centre rooms afterwards . Volunteers come from both church and the village and this is one of the biggest collaborations we have facilitated. Our part in the Nigh Shelter Project is run entirely by volunteers from St Marys and the village.
Starting end of December 2018 , this will be the 5th Night Shelter to be held in St Mary’s Church, Datchet.
Every Friday our guests, who are vetted
by Slough council, arrive by minibus from Slough Centre and we give them food,
hot drinks and shelter for the night, in addition to a welcoming environment
where they can chat, open up, play games and make friends.
We try to provide them with hope and
the belief that their future can be better.
Homelessness in Slough and the
surrounding area is on the up. The bitter winter period, particularly
when the Christmas rush is over, is the time that the homeless really need our
help. Homelessness affects everyone. Many of
the guests have mental health and addiction issues, others have suffered
relationship breakdowns and job losses, many are just like me and you, luck
hasn’t been on their side and their lives have spiralled downwards…
The shelter depends on many people
coming together, from the church and the wider community - individuals,
businesses and schools, everyone giving in whatever way they can and everyone
using their own skills and talents. Over the last few years it has been a
project that has helped to bring people in the village, of all faiths and none,
closer together, with the aim of doing something positive to help those less
fortunate than ourselves. (or something to this effect, which shows how the
shelter brings people together) Churchmead school in particular has
been very involved in cooking for the shelter and this year again the kids will
be cooking for our guests. Once the shelter ends, The London and
Slough Run continue to work with the homeless, supporting them and helping to
get them into work and accommodation.