January is on average the coldest month of the year and the Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter will be open to offer a hot meal and a bed for the night
The Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter has been supporting the homeless for the last eight years. In December, Kent Community Foundation awarded them £5,000 towards their costs.
Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter is currently the only winter shelter that addresses homelessness in Maidstone. Last year they were unable to provide overnight accommodation due to the covid restrictions but provided 1600 meals for people and families who had been adversely affected by the pandemic. The Foundation has regularly supported this vital project and was keen to award funding again this winter when it is anticipated that the ongoing aftereffects of the pandemic will increase the level of homelessness.”
Mandy Fuller, Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter, said, “In Maidstone, as in most large towns, there is a homeless problem that needs to be recognised. Although Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) are doing an amazing job in addressing the homelessness issues in our town, there are some people they are unable to help, especially at short notice, and some people who are unwilling to engage with local authorities. The shelter seeks to address these issues by providing a hot meal, overnight accommodation, a listening ear and support to encourage our guests to engage with MBC or other local agencies, to help them with housing, jobs/benefits and to engage with society again.
“Over the years we have helped both entrenched and new rough sleepers gain a sense of worth, wellbeing and hope and many have left the shelter feeling much healthier and looking much better than when they first attended. We are very grateful not only to Kent Community Foundation but to everyone else who supports this important project.”
The Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter hopes that what they are doing will; lead to a reduction in the number of rough sleepers suffering severe hardship and illness during the coldest months, prevent rough sleeper fatalities, increase engagement between rough sleepers and other agencies/the local council and see more rough sleepers go into long term accommodation.
Kent Community Foundation supports hundreds of charities and community groups across Kent and Medway. To see if they could support your project visit www.kentcf.org.uk/funding
About Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter
Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter opened its doors in December 2013 and has been supporting rough sleepers in Maidstone every winter. They resolve to be more than a bed for the night and work with their guests to tackle the root causes of homelessness, whilst cooperating with partner agencies to secure permanent accommodation, counselling, and employment/benefits.
About Kent Community Foundation
Grant-maker Kent Community Foundation has been finding, funding, and supporting some of the smallest voluntary organisations in the county for twenty years. In this time, it has distributed over £45 million to support thousands of small charities and deserving causes where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact.
They are part of a UK wide accredited network of forty-seven Community Foundations who are committed to improving the lives of local people and communities, particularly the most vulnerable, isolated, and disadvantaged by matching those who want to help, with those who need the help.
Responsible for more than eighty philanthropic funds, Kent Community Foundation is unrivalled in its knowledge of local causes and assists individuals, families, and businesses, who want to help, to establish and administer their own charitable funds.