WE DO not often hear from the Channel Islands on this page, even
though they are part of the diocese of Winchester.
But the church administrator at St Brelade's, on Jersey, Terri
Bond, tells me that more than 80 people braved the weather to sleep
out in a car park at the end of November, to raise funds and
awareness for the homeless projects on the island.
Among them were clergy, politicians, journalists, and
fund-raisers from a number of charities, all sustained by warm
drinks and sandwiches (right). The Revd Mark Bond, Rector
of St Brelade's (he calls it the prettiest church on the island),
says that "Jersey is often seen as an affluent island, but there
are still the same problems of homelessness caused by family
breakdown, unemployment, drugs, and alcoholism as anywhere
He, with two others, started a ten-bed hostel for homeless men
two years ago. It has now grown to 30 beds, and they have set up a
formal trust. "We try to stop them hitting rock bottom," he tells
Homelessness tends to be hidden on the island, with men sleeping
on floors and sofas rather than in doorways, but it is still
important to keep them from a downward spiral. Mr Bond tells me
that, so far, they have helped some 120 men "who have come out the
other side". The sleep-out, he says, was about "changing hearts and
minds, changing negative attitudes to those who have it tough".
They are still collecting the sponsorship money, but, judging by
the pledges, the total should be substantial.