The Care Centre returns
It’s good to be back! It was always going to be hard to know the right way to re-open but we’re currently serving food and drink through the shutter doors from Monday to Thursday, 12 noon to 4pm. It seems to be working. It’s been great to see the guests again and find out how they’ve coped during lockdown. All the rough sleepers were given hostel or hotel rooms and government funding remains in place for this albeit it won’t last much longer. Some have been offered permanent accommodation but many may simply be homeless again (particularly those without access to public funds). We have helped 2 guests into accommodation over the last couple of weeks which is an encouragement but, as we’ve often said, accommodation isn’t always the immediate answer. In many cases, the focus needs to be on why the person was homeless in the first place. There will be many changes and challenges over the coming weeks and we’ll all adapt as best we can.
Whilst there is frustration we can’t yet go back to our usual way of opening, there are some real positives.
A thorough deep clean has been going on within the building as we pray for clarity on the right way and the right time to re-open properly. We’ll be closely monitoring cafés and restaurants as well as following updated government guidelines. Whilst there is frustration we can’t yet go back to our usual way of opening, there are actually some real positives. Normally we would have a 10 minute gospel presentation for guests but the current setup allows us to engage in conversations we wouldn’t have been able to have before. There have been some positive responses as the guests continue to hear the truth. To hear God’s word, as we all know, is the real solution.
Steve Bagnall, Care Centre Manager
And the Resource Centre…
It’s been going well at the Resource Centre since we fully re-opened a few weeks ago, with sales on a par with last year. Many of our regulars have been in to see us, with quite a queue on Tuesday mornings, all socially distancing. We are limiting customers to 6 at a time and food parcels are being given out on Wednesdays only between 10am and 1pm. We are now able to give a parcel every two weeks instead of every month.
It’s great to see some of our volunteers back, happy to be able to help again. One commented that he’s glad to be back because he feels the Lord’s work is a labour of love, and he’s missed being involved. Another, that friendship is stronger than the virus.
Chris Fisher, Resource Centre Manager
…and the shop, to delighted customers!
The shop opened again on 30th June at 9.30am and from around 10am all our regular customers came rushing in. ‘Rushing in’ are the actual words for it. We had good sales of £360 and conversations with customers who very much said the same thing – we are so pleased you are open. I had the job of doorman but see it more as a welcome (and hand gel) steward!
James Charlesworth, Charity Shop Manager
It has been encouraging to re-open the bookshop after being closed for 3 months. Following redecoration, and setting up Covid safety features, it has been lovely to see new faces, as well as many regulars. It was also encouraging that our very first sale after we re-opened was for 75 pounds-worth of books. One lady commented, ‘I’m so pleased you’re open again. I’ve missed you!’ Another said, ‘I’ve been dying for you to open!’ This was echoed by a local minister, saying how good it was that we are back in action. With various bargain items in stock, we hope to see more friends, old and new. It’s nice to have been missed.
Warwick Goulding, Bookshop Manager