Thank you to the hundreds of people that donated clothes, food, toiletries, Christmas stockings filled with gifts and financial contributions – we were really overwhelmed with the generosity of members of our community! Our guests were really touched to receive these gifts, and the food, toiletries and financial donations will continue to help Sanctuary serve the homeless of Gravesend.
Thank you also to one of our volunteers, Leigh, who helped to raise £500 for Sanctuary. His band The Three Scarecrows AKA raised £300 from a concert at The Eagle Tavern in Rochester, through audience donations, the sales of CDs and band merchandise and a donation from the landlady.
Leigh raised the remaining £200 from his art exhibition at The Stables Gallery in Folkestone. The exhibition highlighted the modern day problem of homelessness.
Since the start of the new season in September 2018, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of guests accessing our services. From the very first drop-in session, we’ve been swamped! Since September, we’ve welcome 178 guests through our doors.
We believe this is due to difficulties in guests accessing the new Universal Credit system and the continued high rents in the Gravesend and Dartford areas.
The daytime sessions have been equally as busy. Vicki, the Methodist Church centre manager, has created a daytime hub on Wednesdays where agencies, such as Porchlight, can come together to support our guests. Our guests were particularly grateful when two hairdressers provided their services for free.
The annual rough sleeper count in November, which was carried out by Gravesham Borough Council, Porchlight and Sanctuary, found there were 22 rough sleepers, which is quite an increase from last year. This figure is really just a snapshot, and is likely to be much higher.
However, we have had a measure of success in helping guests back into accommodation, and we hope to share some of these stories soon.