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Could you help the homeless at busy night shelter?

PUBLISHED: 09:48 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:48 23 September 2019

Lucy McKitterick outside the night shelter in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris Bishop

Lucy McKitterick outside the night shelter in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

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A night shelter needs 200 volunteers to help the homeless this winter.

Lucy McKitterick inside the night shelter in King's Lynn, where staff and volunteers hope to create a homely atmosphere  Picture: Chris BishopLucy McKitterick inside the night shelter in King's Lynn, where staff and volunteers hope to create a homely atmosphere Picture: Chris Bishop

The King's Lynn hostel, run by Churches Together, can sleep up to 24 people a night.

MORE - how couple ended up living in a tent behind a football ground



Co-ordinator Lucy McKitterick is getting the building ready for its opening on the evening of October 31.

That includes recruiting and training the volunteers who will be giving up their time to help run it.

"We're looking for 200 this year," she said. "We had 130 last year, we had school teachers, ex-offenders, grannies, people with homeless children.

"Last year's people really enjoyed it. They thought it was a really great way to help their community.

"And if we don't have volunteers, we can't open. We need to have a certain number in the building to make it safe."

Last year's guests ranged from 18 to their late 70s. Mental health, drug and alcohol issues are common on the streets.

Miss McKitterick said many of those helped last winter became regulars at the shelter, through having nowhere else they could go at night.

"They all start the day knowing where they're going to spend the evening so that takes away a huge anxiety," she said.

Homeless people left glowing tributes in messages to shelter staff and volunteers at the end of last winter's opening.

One said if they hadn't had the shelter to fall back on, they would have ended up in jail.

Another said: "I never expected it would be so much like a family living together."

The shelter will be blessed by the Bishop of Lynn on Wednesday, October 30, prior to this winter's campaign, when a new Friends of the Night Shelter Scheme will also be launched to support it.

Volunteers can work evening, night or morning shifts. Cooks are also needed to prepare dinners and weekend breakfasts at the centre.

Training evenings are being held on Tuesday, October 1 (7pm) at St John's Church in the Walks; Wednesday, October 2 (7pm) at All Saints Church, North Wootton; Tuesday, October 8 (7pm) at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Wisbech Road and Tuesday, October 15 (7pm) at St Faith's Church Hall, Gaywood.

For more information on volunteering e-mail nightshelter.steering@gmail.com or call 01553 776109.

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