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As temperature drops, Ilford’s night shelter opens its doors tonight

PUBLISHED: 16:30 07 December 2017

Volunteer Grace Adelakun prepares the beds at the Ilford Salvation Army night shelter

Volunteer Grace Adelakun prepares the beds at the Ilford Salvation Army night shelter

Archant

As Ilford Salvation Army’s seasonal shelter for homeless people opens its doors tonight, staff members say they’re prepared to provide for those in need.

Guests eat a hot dinner at the Ilford Salvation Army night shelterGuests eat a hot dinner at the Ilford Salvation Army night shelter

The shelter, which provides overnight beds, board and support for 28 homeless people, has been running since 2011.

Just in time to offer respite from the freezing cold, it will welcome those in need of a warm place to safely lay their heads and it will stay open until March 9.

A snapshot overnight count in Redbridge this year recorded 59 rough sleepers on the streets, but the actual figure is believed to be much higher.

The guests are all referred from the Welcome Centre, in St Mary’s Road, Ilford, to ensure they are verified as homeless and that the support goes to those who are most in need.

Candice Steen, a volunteer at the night shelter last year, serving food to? [Picture: Anja King/The Savour Tribe]Candice Steen, a volunteer at the night shelter last year, serving food to? [Picture: Anja King/The Savour Tribe]

If any do not turn up, a place opens up for someone on the reserve list.

Last year, more than 50 guests stayed at the shelter, and 4,869 hours were spent volunteering.

Each of the 130 volunteers play a different, but pivotal role.

Their roles include managing entry at the gate, welcoming newcomers inside, manning the registration desk, running games and activities, and providing a listening ear.

Of course, there are the amazing cooks who serve around 3,600 hot meals and 9,000 hot drinks – providing much needed relief in plunging temperatures.

More volunteers will stay overnight to support the Salvation Army’s night shift staff with any tasks and keeping people safe.

“We aim to instil a belief in our volunteers that just because someone is sleeping rough, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our love and care,” said Captain John Clifton, who runs the centre with his wife Captain Naomi Clifton.

Whilst the shelter runs, volunteers will spend time with each guest in conversation.

Weekly casework meetings will take place with Redbridge Council, the Welcome Centre, and RAMFEL in order to try and move the guests on to a more stable environment.

Text ILRE59 followed by the amount (ie £5) to 70070 to donate to the Ilford Salvation Army and Ilford Recorder campaign this winter.

For more information, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ilfordrecorderwintercampaign.

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