THE Winter Shelter Project has been described as a perfect example of the Big Society by MP Iain Stewart.
Since December last year, seven churches in Milton Keynes and over 200 volunteers have provided 80 vulnerable people with shelter during the cold winter months.
The shelter was created to address the need identified last winter for additional emergency shelter for rough sleepers, which MK YMCA is unable to meet because of capacity constraints.
On a rolling basis, the churches involved in this project have each opened their doors for one night per week, offering 15 bed spaces, food and much needed warmth to the homeless.
The Milton Keynes South MP visited the shelter at Woburn Sands to see how the project was helping those needing it.
Speaking about the project afterwards, Mr Stewart said: “This is a perfect example of the Big Society. Lots of people in the local community, churches, businesses and a local golf club all coming together to provide a really valuable service which is very much appreciated by those who use it.”
“I congratulate everyone who has been involved in making the project a success.”
Simon Green, Housing Manager at MK YMCA added: “We have proved that there is a need for this service, and that the community of Milton Keynes is able to deliver a service on a voluntary basis with some support from us.
“Intense efforts are being made to find on-going shelter and support for the 11 ‘guests’ still using the shelter and support from YMCA staff will be available at the end of the project to try to find a solution for each individual,” he continued.
The project was established as a partnership between Milton Keynes Council, Milton Keynes YMCA and the following churches: St Marys, Jesus Celebration Centre, Milton Keynes Christian Foundation, New Life Church, Stony Stratford Community Church, St George’s and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.