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Appeal for volunteers and venues ahead of the opening of Thanet's winter shelter

An appeal for venues and volunteers for Thanet's winter shelter is being made ahead of its opening next month.

The facility, which is accessed through referrals by Thanet's rough sleeper service RISE, has been running for four years and helped more than 100 homeless people, providing beds, hot evening meals and breakfast.

Volunteers from the previous Thanet winter shelter (5610500)
Volunteers from the previous Thanet winter shelter (5610500)

The shelter is run by the Salvation Army and churches, with £20,000 funding from Thanet District Council and £10,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as well as charitable donations.

It will run for 19 weeks, from November 11 to March 29, 2020.

People are being asked to give up some of their time to help run the shelter or offer professional skills such as dentistry, hairdressing and chiropody.

An appeal is also being made to anyone with a venue that can be used.

"Without venues, we cannot run the Shelter so I am appealing to churches, organisations and individuals who have hall space for one or more evenings per week," said winter shelter manager Danilo Luongo.

'Living on the streets is one of the most frightening, dangerous and isolating experiences anyone could face' - Cllr Lesley-Ann Game

"Please get in touch if you can help, Danilo@ThanetWinterShelter.org.”

Mr Luongo says a large number of people have already shown their support for the campaign and have come forward to volunteer to help with shifts.

The winter shelter offers more than just a safe sanctuary for the night and the team there is focused on finding a permanent solution to guests’ housing needs.

They work closely with the RISE team to ensure personalised support plans are in place so clients can be helped to find secure and long-term accommodation, whilst also addressing any barriers which have prevented them from finding and keeping a home in the past.

The RISE team will also help guests prepare for and find training and employment.

Thanet's winter shelter will open on November 11 for four months (18305780)
Thanet's winter shelter will open on November 11 for four months (18305780)

Cllr Lesley-Ann Game, Thanet council's cabinet member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, added: “Living on the streets is one of the most frightening, dangerous and isolating experiences anyone could face.

"Thanet’s winter shelter means that those in need on the Isle will receive a caring arm to help them rebuild their lives, access the support they need and address the reasons for their rough sleeping.”

To volunteer visit https://thanetwintershelter.org/volunteer/ and to donate visit www.gofundme.com/f/thanet-night-winter-shelter.

Donations of food or bedding are also gratefully received. Please see the website or contact the Salvation Army in Ramsgate for more information.

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