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Winter night shelter to open early to help town’s homeless survive long, cold winter

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

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Ipswich Winter Night Shelter will open eight weeks early in 2018 to give homeless people extra support during the winter.

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKERIpswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Homeless people are to get extra help to survive a long and harsh winter when a night shelter opens several weeks early to provide much-needed food and warmth.

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter has opened between November and March in previous years, providing rough sleepers with a cooked meal and shower in the evening, as well as a bed for the night and breakfast in the morning.

But this year the shelter, run by the Selig (Suffolk) Trust, will open its doors at the St Nicholas Centre, in Cutler Street, on October 11 in a bid to curb growing problems with homelessness.

The early date was brought about by just under £56,000 of additional government funding so it could open for approximately eight weeks longer in its 2018/19 season.

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKERIpswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

“By being open for longer, we will hopefully be able to help more people find a solution,” said Julia Hancock, business manager for the Selig (Suffolk) Trust, the charity behind Ipswich Winter Night Shelter.

“For those who find trusting people difficult, it gives us longer to be able to work with them and hopefully more people will benefit from it.”

The centre, which has been running for eight years and believes its work helps to save lives during difficult winters, will be able to provide support for up to 15 people at a time.

It has also received funding from the Ipswich Round Table and Ipswich Borough Council to equip the church with a shower.

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKERIpswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Yet rather than just providing shelter, volunteers also work with people to tackle the root causes of their homelessness and get them out of poverty - whether that be improving their health or helping them to find housing.

“The aim is for it to be more than just a bed and that staying in the centre will help them achieve a goal,” said Ms Hancock.

“The Ipswich Winter Night Shelter is a valuable resource in Ipswich and having a single location for part of the winter will enable us to focus more of our efforts on supporting our guests to find accommodation and to link up with the full range of support provided by local organisations.

“We know that with our support, and that of all the other local organisations working in this field, our guests will find work, make significant improvements to their health, access long-term housing and re-establish connections with their families.”

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKERIpswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Anna Hughes, who leads the office a the St Nicholas Centre, said: “It is a privilege to be able to offer the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter a home this year.

“As a former church, the St Nicholas Centre is a special place to us and we hope that with our support the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter will have a positive impact on our local communities.

“During last year’s cold and long winter, we saw first-hand the problems of people living on our streets and agreed that we wanted to help those most in need.”

The shelter is currently seeking applications for volunteers, new and experienced.

Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKERIpswich Winter Night Shelter, pictured here in 2015. Picture: SIMON PARKER

To volunteer, visit www.iwns.org.uk/apply-to-volunteer/

The centre also relies on donations to help pay for its work.

To donate, visit www.iwns.org.uk/donate

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