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Volunteers needed for winter shelter

Volunteers are needed in Kendal so that homeless people in the town can have a bed for the night this winter.

The Manna House charity coordinates the Kendal Winter Shelter every year with the help of six local churches who open up their halls and kitchens in turn from November until March.

Every night throughout that period there will be a bed, evening meal and breakfast somewhere in the town for homeless people, but more volunteers are particularly needed this year to keep the guests safe between 10pm and 8am. Manna House has coordinated the project for the last five years to save anyone in the South Lakes from having to spend the night on the street in the coldest months of the year.

“Last year more than 100 amazing people volunteered to work for the Shelter but it was still a struggle to cover the overnight slots,” said  Shelter co-ordinator Lois Sparling.

This year the Shelter is opening for longer. Ideally, volunteers who can manage to stay overnight would only be asked to do so once a fortnight for 16 weeks – but to do that the Shelter needs a pool of 30 to 40 overnight volunteers to be certain to fill the rota every time.

“We would like to hear from anyone who would like the opportunity to welcome our guests in from the cold – to cook, serve and eat a meal, and spend the evening with them companionably – but most of all we need a number of new volunteers who are able to stay the night once a fortnight and  make sure everyone gets a peaceful night’s sleep,” said Lois.

“We rarely have more than four to six guests at the Shelter and they are usually quite tired after a day on the street and keen to get to sleep so being in charge overnight is not too demanding.”

This year the Shelter will run from November 19 until March 10. Training takes place in mid-November.

Manna House is also looking for churches or other organisations who would like to join the Adopt-a- Team scheme to cook, bake or provide the ingredients for the weekly meals. At the moment four of the teams are generously supported in this way.

Lois added: “This year we have also put in place some emergency provision, in conjunction with Impact, at the South Lakes Foyer, until the end of March, in case of severe weather after the Shelter has closed.

Anyone who might be interested to help is asked to ring 01539 725534 or email [email protected]. Volunteer Application Forms are also available, along with more information, on the Manna House website at www.manna-house.org.uk.

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