The Winter Night Shelter is a unique player in the ongoing battle to ameliorate homelessness in Milton Keynes. It provides temporary accommodation via “pop up” shelters in church buildings across the town. It helps individuals when no other service can because it is able to include those who have no recourse to public funds. The shelter offers a solution off the streets over the coldest months of the year and creates a platform for advancement. As homelessness is growing on a national scale, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to support and house individuals who find themselves in this situation. Put simply, more homeless people are chasing very few beds in hostels and very limited access to any other housing.

In Milton Keynes we have few targeted services compared with many other towns. This means accessing basic services such as health can be difficult. So much of our society is now dependent on having good proof of your identity that, once you have lost this, almost nothing can happen for you. For many the Winter Night Shelter has been a lifeline and a catalyst for true progression and change. Those helped range from folk who have been on the street for many years through to those for whom this is a devastating new experience.

As we conclude for this year, I am delighted to report that we have had an incredibly successful season in which a great deal has been achieved. A huge thank you to all those who support by volunteering and giving. You have made a difference and it is appreciated! We have been able to provide temporary accommodation to a total of 59 individuals over the period of 15 weeks. Overall we helped 35 people into more settled accommodation. The logistics are substantial, over 2000 meals served, well over a 1000 bed nights, and perhaps most important of all, guests treated with the warmth of human kindness.

We are still following up a number of individuals with help towards work, gaining ID, bank accounts, benefit claims, National Insurance numbers and access to health services. The work needed to help one individual through to mainstream life is no small matter and your prayers and practical support are valued. More information is available through the Milton Keynes Winter Night Shelter website. [goto Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes and click on the logo top right]

Rev Jack Walker, Newport Pagnell Baptist Church