HOMELESS DAY CENTRE TO BECOME 24/7 dROP-IN!
At a time of bad news stories, Church Army are thrilled to announce some good news. We've been awarded a £473,000 grant from the London Evening Standard enabling our Marylebone Project to make our homeless day centre a 24/7 homeless drop-in centre!!
Over the last 15 months, we've has been working with the Evening Standard to highlight the work we do at the Marylebone Project with homeless women, and they've championed our vision to see the day centre open 24/7, 365 days a year.
Like many of the current facilities in London, our current day-centre has previously only been able to open for limited hours due to funding. But the issues faced by vulnerable women often happen outside those hours, so we are thrilled to be able to extend our hours to meet this need.
There are night shelters, but the women have to be there by early evening to access them. The majority of the night shelters are open to all genders, meaning many of the women don’t feel safe there.
Loneliness and isolation at night can trigger deterioration in mental health and women are left with nowhere to go for support. Domestic abuse often happens in the evening but there is nowhere safe for the women to go. Some women have to travel all night on a night bus to feel safer than sleeping in a doorway.
I am delighted that this grant from the Evening Standard (including a donation by Barclays Bank) will enable us to make that dream of making our day centre a 24/7, 365 days a year drop-in a reality! This massive grant will fund the first full year and we will then be seeking support from other funders and new donors to sustain the 24/7 service going forward.
To be able to be there - whatever the hour - for these women when they need it most, to offer a friendly welcome and the opportunity to be referred on to relevant services could be a lifeline. For some, it is the difference between life and death.
Rather than a night shelter, the drop-in will provide emergency relief to women and signpost them onto other services where they can find longer-term help. Women visiting the centre at any time, night or day, will have access to clothing, food parcels, and emergency beds when they are available. It will eventually offer a one-stop-shop for women to seek help for matters including medical care, legal advice and immigration problems.
The drop-in will start to extend its hours from April, and by September should be running 24-hours a day. It will provide a place of safety at a time of crisis for women, with hospitality and unconditional acceptance.
Read more in the Evening Standard.
Read more about the Marylebone Project...