Day shelter to support isolated this festive season

By Ian Dipple Friday 27 December 2013 Updated: 27/12 14:06

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A DAY shelter has been set up to help support the borough’s vulnerable and isolated residents over the festive period.

The shelter, based at the Ecumenical Centre in Redditch Town Centre, opened on Monday (December 23) and is expected to cater for up to 30 people a day before it closes on January 2.

It is the third year running the project has been in existence but this time rather than provide a temporary shelter for rough sleepers, the focus will be on bringing together those members of the community left isolated and alone over the Christmas and New Year period.

As well as providing food, including Christmas Day lunch, there will also be a range of activities on offer including drama performances, singing and hairdressing.

Up to 60 volunteers are helping to run the shelter which is also being supported by donations including food leftover from the German Christmas Market in Birmingham.

The project is being run by the Redditch Winter Shelter Steering Group, made up of members from Redditch Nightstop, Redditch Churches Together Methodist Circuit and Oasis Christian Centre.

Ben Rafiqi, day shelter manager, told the Standard: “What we are creating is a welcoming place people can come who would otherwise be alone over Christmas, perhaps because they don’t have family or a support network.

“For most of us Christmas is a busy time when our families get together but it is also a time when people feel their lonliness more.”

He added: “There’s a group of people gradually being isolated and alienated from our community and that’s the kind of situation that can lead to homelessness.”

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