CHURCHES and faith groups across the county are encouraging more volunteers to join them in their work to combat poverty and homelessness through a range of projects highlighted during the national Poverty & Homelessness Action Week.
Partnership officer for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, The Rev Liam O’Boyle, said the churches role in reaching out through night shelters, soup runs, drop-in centres, food banks and furniture stores were all offering a life-line to vulnerable and marginalised people across the county.
He said: “Last winter over 60 volunteers from churches around Nottingham gave shelter and support in church halls during one of the coldest winters for over 30 years through the Winter Shelter. Providing hospitality and sharing whatever we have is an essential part of our Christian faith. The Winter Shelter, currently running at St Saviour’s in the Meadows, provides a way of doing this and putting our faith in Jesus into action.”
The Winter Shelter, which has been based at a number of churches in the city over the winter months, is just one of a range of projects supporting those on the breadline and without shelter. Some of the other faith-based projects include: The Arches; The Cabin; the Soup Run; Cedar Housing; Trent Debt Advice; Nottingham Arimathea Trust; 58i, Rally, Aspire mentoring Nottingham Nightstop; CAP; Emmanuel House; The Friary; Himmah ; Hope Nottingham; Jericho Road; Salvation Army Aspley; Salvation Army; Nottingham Winter Shelter.
All these projects offer hospitality, holistic care and support to people of all faiths and beliefs or none. They work with a wide range of vulnerable people, including those who are homeless or vulnerably housed, destitute asylum seekers, families living in poverty, young people who need support and mentoring in order build lives free of addiction, and many others.
Liam said: “In the work they undertake all these projects are responding to the love of God who calls us to uphold the dignity of every human being and to work for life in all its fullness, for all people in our communities. We want people in our city to have that fullness of life that Jesus talks about. Through the work of these projects we see people’s lives changed and have the immense privilege of seeing them going on and changing other people’s lives too.”