Well this year’s overnight shelter came to an abrupt halt. As we all know the Corvid19 pandemic has impacted all our lives, and Sanctuary was no exception.
Due to the government’s guidelines we reluctantly took the decision to close the winter shelter with effect from Tuesday 24th March – around 5 weeks earlier than originally planned.
This is not something we wanted to do but we had to be mindful of protecting both guests and volunteers. Due to the confined space at Longferry Court it was impossible to follow the advice on social distancing.
We worked very hard with the council and managed to get most of our guests into temporary accommodation.
The last evening was very emotional. Our guests, although facing an uncertain future as for us all, really showed their appreciation for the last five months of love, support, meals, showers, and most importantly a listening ear.
Although the winter shelter maybe closed, the work doesn’t stop there. We are working with the council to ensure our guests remain safe in temporary accommodation, and we continue to help with beds, sleeping bags and blankets as well as supporting the daytime hub at the Methodist Church that is still open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Our guests need to feel they have not been abandoned, and they need help with food. We are grateful to Langer Serva and The Table run by Tony who supply meals on some evenings, while the daytime hub tries to provide hot food and drinks, tea/coffee, sausage/bacon sandwiches etc during the time they are open.
Night Shelter Statistics
Here are the numbers we have for this winter:
- 84 guests registered, with 68 having slept at Sanctuary
- 1297 sleeps on the street prevented
- 19,796 Volunteers hours given
- 2621 meals served
It’s not been easy but we are so grateful for our volunteers for making it possible.
One Volunteer’s Experience
Our Facebook page is where we engage with many of our volunteers and supporters on a daily basis. Soon after announcing the closure of the night shelter, we received this lovely post:
“Just wanted to say a massive thank you to Sanctuary for letting me help out over the last few months and for providing a service that the community so desperately needs.
Having met some lovely guests and volunteers alike, it’s been a truly eye opening time and helps to restore your faith in humanity at a time when the world looks pretty bleak.
Absolutely gutted we had to close early and not gonna lie I struggled to keep my emotions in check at points. I sincerely hope that the current issues pass and I can see many of you again next winter to do our best and help those when they need us the most.
Until then, keep safe, keep strong and keep well.
Thank you Dan and all of the other kind messages we have received over the past few days. And a big shout out to all of you who gave your time over the past 5 months – be blessed and be safe,
Love from Steve and Lorna