As temperatures dip, churches of Ipswich throw open their doors to the homeless with voernight shelters set up around town

The Ipswich night shelter has opened it's doors once again for the homeless at St Mary's at Stoke Ch

The Ipswich night shelter has opened it's doors once again for the homeless at St Mary's at Stoke Church Hall. - Credit: Archant

Churches all over Ipswich are opening their warm and welcoming doors to homeless and vulnerable people this winter.

The Ipswich night shelter has opened it's doors once again for the homeless at St Mary's at Stoke Ch

The Ipswich night shelter has opened it's doors once again for the homeless at St Mary's at Stoke Church Hall. Reverand Canon Paul Daltry and Bernadette Ross-Smith (3rd and 4th) with people who have come to use the shelter for the night. - Credit: Archant

The Ipswich Night Shelter works to provide an overnight accommodation during the three coldest months of the year in one of seven town centre churches which take in 12 people who would otherwise have to sleep rough.

The Ipswich night shelter has opened it's doors once again for the homeless at St Mary's at Stoke Ch

The Ipswich night shelter has opened it's doors once again for the homeless at St Mary's at Stoke Church Hall. Volunteers L-R Pam Geoghegan, Amanda Howlett, Edward Morgan. - Credit: Archant

The guests are able to clean and freshen up, enjoy a hot meal, spend an evening in a warm and safe place, share time in friendly company, sleep in a clean and comfortable bed and receive breakfast in the morning.

Project manager, Wendy Claydon, said: “They have formed a nice little community, they are very supportive of each other and obviously with it being Christmas it’s not easy for them but it seems to be going really well.”

Mrs Claydon said they had seen at least 10 guests every night since they started on December 3, and most nights they had been at full capacity.

“They love the food, it’s all freshly cooked,” she added.

The project, run by The Selig (Suffolk) Trust, is in its fourth year and Mrs Claydon said it was getting better and better every year.

Most Read

She said: “We are getting to know what works for the volunteers and the guests and we are beginning to know what to expect.”

On Christmas Day, shelters were open at Christ Church in Tacket Street and St Pancras Catholic Church in Orwell Place, and a Christmas dinner was provided at Burlington Baptist Church on London Road at noon.

Volunteers made up a special Christmas parcel for each of their guests complete with a hat, gloves and essentials.

“It’s amazing how they lose their hats and gloves”, Mrs Claydon said. “We try and make it as merry as we can.”

On Boxing Day, Suffolk firefighters joined the party for the third time at Burlington Baptist Church and helped the volunteers serve dinner to guests and wash up the dirty dishes.