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Wednesday, October 26, 2016
London: churches launch new homeless drop-in centre
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¬† Homeless people in the south London Borough of Merton will be able to get off the streets for a few hours each Wednesday (starting 29 September) as Christians of all the main denominations launch a Drop-In Centre at the Salvation Army Hall. The Centre in Kingston Road, South Wimbledon, will provide a safe, comfortable environment where rough sleepers and other single homeless people can have a hot meal, engage in leisure activities, and get their laundry washed. The 'Faith in Action' initiative has the support of the Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Quakers and Salvation Army. The parish priest of Sacred Heart Church, Fr Gerard Mitchell SJ, is a Trustee, as is Rev Andrew Wakefield, the Vicar of St Andrew's Church. Management Committee members include Major David Hall of the Salvation Army and Carole Kennedy from St Mark's Church in Wimbledon. The local Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish communities have also committed themselves to the project. In addition to providing a meal and washing facilities, the workers at the Drop-In Centre will also help people fill out forms to assist them claim payments to which they are entitled, and work with local services to get them reintegrated into the local community. According to Chairperson, Muriel Martin, from the Baptist Church and the former director of Merton Volunteer Bureau, this project is unique in Merton: "Faith in Action is the only local charity that has homelessness as its sole focus," she said. "Rather than one church trying to address the needs of homeless people in Merton, this project brings together a number of agencies and volunteers from different faith and humanitarian groups which are concerned about homeless people and are committed to helping them. We have already raised over £30,000 for our first year, and we have a list of volunteers who are ready to help at the Drop-In Centre. But we need more ≠ volunteers and money! It will cost more than £35,000 a year to run the centre, pay for a Project Development Worker, train staff, rent the premises and provide things like washing machines." The Drop-In Centre at the Salvation Army Hall in Kingston Road, South Wimbledon, will be open every Wednesday between 10 am and 3 pm, from 29 September. Source: Jesuit Communications Centre
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