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In from the cold

07 February 2014

SEVEN church halls in Ipswich, in the diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, are offering beds to rough-sleepers through the worst of the winter. Until March, one hall will be open each night, covering every day of the week, offering 12 beds to men and women. Volunteers welcome the guests, cook for those staying, and eat with them.

At the time of writing, 35 rough-sleepers have stayed in a shelter for one night or more, but, with great sadness, the volunteers have had to turn 19 away because they have been full to capacity. It is the third year that this scheme has been run in Ipswich, and the Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Revd David Thomson, who is caring for the diocese until a new diocesan bishop is appointed, spent one evening helping the volunteers serve meals at St Mary's, Stoke (above), to meet all involved, and to learn how the project is helping those in need.

"The fact that all the beds have been taken on some occasions, with a waiting list, shows that this is a real and pressing need," he says. "I am deeply thankful for the work of more than 500 volunteers, and all the organisers, donors, and church authorities who are working so well together to make the service possible."

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