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Ipswich night shelter opens to give protection to homeless sleeping on the streets this winter

PUBLISHED: 15:21 29 November 2017

Canon Susan Loxton with fellow volunteers who took part in the sleep-out in Harleston. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

Canon Susan Loxton with fellow volunteers who took part in the sleep-out in Harleston. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

© Keith Mindham

A Suffolk priest joined volunteers sleeping overnight on the floor of a chilly church to raise awareness and funds to give homeless young people a safer future – as the Ipswich night shelter opens for another winter

Christian volunteers in Ipswich open town centre churches through the night from today as winter shelters for months through the bitterly cold nights to help those sleeping rough.

The Ipswich Winter Night Shelter will open offering hospitality and hope every night until March 6 next year.

Meanwhile, a group of people spent 12 hours in the St John the Baptist Church in Harleston aiming to raise hundreds of pounds for the Centrepoint charity, whose mission is to end youth homelessness in the UK.

The event was organised by Susan Whymark, an undertaker based in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Rev Canon Susan Loxton, from Stradbroke and Rural Dean of Hoxne and Hartismere, was one of those who swapped her comfy bed for a sleeping bag.

She said: ‘‘I joined the sleep out because like many charities Centrepoint do a lot of good work.

“Spending one night in a cold building with hard floors is not a great cost compared to the many who sleep out in the open every night and as the weather turns colder it is a good time to highlight this.

“It was interesting sleeping on the cold hard floor of a church, but we had cardboard and sleeping bags and warm clothes.

‘‘I think Centrepoint do really important work with homeless young people, especially as winter draws close, and we hope to raise awareness of the need and the charity.”

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: ‘‘I am so grateful to Susan and the whole group who gave up their time and comfort to help bring home to us the plight of homeless young people on our region’s streets, and to show the a difference we can make by our donations.

“People brought the overnight volunteers soup, which was very welcome, and those taking part went into Harleston with collecting buckets for Centrepoint.

“Thank you to those who donated. I hope this winter we can support all the efforts by churches and other groups across Suffolk to help those who are homeless, and particularly our homeless young people.”

The Stradbroke priest’s voluntary work comes as

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