St Albans homeless provision desperately in need of volunteers
- Credit: Centre 33
A homeless charity in St Albans is making an urgent appeal for volunteers.
Centre 33 was forced to close its building in Spicer Street as the converted one-bedroom flat was too small to allow adequate social distancing during the pandemic.
It looked as though a vital service would be lost until The Salvation Army came to the rescue by offering the use of its own facilities in Victoria Street.
For five nights a week, dozens of homeless people including rough sleepers and those socially or materially disadvantaged, are queuing at the front door to be given a nutritious home-cooked meal and a hot drink.
They can also access friendly advice and information about where to get further help and move on positively into the future.
Worryingly, the necessary service is at risk if more volunteers don’t come forward.
Centre 33 trustee Melanie O'Neill said: “It doesn’t matter how much or how little time you are able to offer. It might be twice a week or just once a month – every little helps.
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"It can be a very satisfying and fulfilling experience, an opportunity to meet other like-minded people willing to roll up their sleeves to support the homeless in the city in such challenging times.”
Salvation Army pastor Lieutenant Wan Gi Lee is also in the front line, providing essential support. They are also running a food bank and also providing many of those who turn up each evening with sleeping bags and warm clothes.
He said: “This is a critical mission. Some of those who call have been on the sharp edge of the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve lost everything – jobs, home and income. Covid has also greatly affected family relationships.
"We’ve met husbands who have been turned out of the family home, deeply worried and depressed about what the future may hold.
"Helping the Centre 33 emergency food project is a very positive way of offering care and compassion while hopefully, even in a small way, improving the life chances of homeless people in our city."
If you would like to consider becoming a Centre 33 volunteer contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org