January is on average the coldest month of the year and the Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter will be open to offer a hot meal and a bed for the night.

The Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter has been supporting the homeless for the last eight years. In December, Kent Community Foundation awarded them £5,000 towards their costs.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter is currently the only winter shelter that addresses homelessness in Maidstone. Last year they were unable to provide overnight accommodation due to the Covid-19 restrictions but provided 1600 meals for people and families who had been adversely affected by the pandemic. The Foundation has regularly supported this vital project and was keen to award funding again this winter when it is anticipated that the ongoing aftereffects of the pandemic will increase the level of homelessness.”

Mandy Fuller, Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter, said, “In Maidstone, as in most large towns, there is a homeless problem that needs to be recognised. Although Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) are doing an amazing job in addressing the homelessness issues in our town, there are some people they are unable to help, especially at short notice, and some people who are unwilling to engage with local authorities. The shelter seeks to address these issues by providing a hot meal, overnight accommodation, a listening ear and support to encourage our guests to engage with MBC or other local agencies, to help them with housing, jobs/benefits and to engage with society again.”

“Over the years we have helped both entrenched and new rough sleepers gain a sense of worth, wellbeing and hope and many have left the shelter feeling much healthier and looking much better than when they first attended. We are very grateful not only to Kent Community Foundation but to everyone else who supports this important project.”

The Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter hopes that what they are doing will; lead to a reduction in the number of rough sleepers suffering severe hardship and illness during the coldest months, prevent rough sleeper fatalities, increase engagement between rough sleepers and other agencies/the local council and see more rough sleepers go into long term accommodation.

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind
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