Government policies are leading to ‘deeper need’ for Leamington Night Shelter say volunteers

Chris Johnson and Margaret Moore of Leamington Night Shelter with her husband Phil. 'MHLC-30-03-12 citizen Mar97
Chris Johnson and Margaret Moore of Leamington Night Shelter with her husband Phil. 'MHLC-30-03-12 citizen Mar97
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Leamington Night Shelter volunteers have expressed concerns that Government policies have lead to an increase in need for its service and support among the homeless and most vulnerable in the town over the last year.

The shelter opened seven years ago and is open at Radford Road church on Sunday and Wednesday nights through to the following mornings.

And in the last 12 months Margaret Moore and Chris Johnson, who run the shelter, say they have noticed an ‘increased depth of need’.

A statement from the two says: “Over this last year it has been noticeable regarding an increased depth of need.

“We do not get involved with Government Policy but we do see the effect this has on our clients and we believe this is directly linked to the benefit changes that have happened over the past year.

“Our main objective is to be there for our clients - whether this is writing letters of support on their behalf, making phone calls in the morning - in fact trying to meet their needs where they are.”

Over the years the shelter has helped 771 different men and women.

All have a range of needs which the volunteers try to help with as best they can.

Over the past six months it has had an average of 80 different clients attending each month - some many times with an average of 11 clients staying each night during September and a further 21 coming for company and food.

Each evening it is open the shelter serves a hot cooked meal and food parcels to take away if needed.

It also provides a simple breakfast and sandwiches for clients to take away in the morning.

Mragaret and Chris Have said: “We are a totally voluntary organisation and since we began in February 2009 we have been so amazed by the help that has been given to us by so many supporters, individuals, churches, schools and various other organisations that we feel overwhelmed by the scale of this goodwill.”

Donations can be made to the shelter to cover its running costs.

Its nightly food bill is about £60 and Hepatitis A and B vaccinations for volunteers cost £135.

Total running costs are about £150 a night which amounts to about £5 per client.

For more information about the Night Shelter visit www.leamingtonnightshelter.org.uk