January 8th 2018
GAVIN VISITS HOMELESS SHELTER
A leading borough councillor has paid a visit to the borough’s winter night shelter to meet volunteers and the guests who stay there.
As temperatures drop and winter takes hold Basildon Emergency Night Shelter (BENS) is a lifeline to those who would otherwise have nowhere warm to stay overnight.
This year the night shelter is open for five nights each week rather than three until 31 March.
Cllr Gavin Callaghan, Basildon Council’s Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, visited the shelter at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Wickhay, on Monday evening.
He said: “The night shelter provides a safe and warm place for guests to sleep over in the cold winter months. This can be a dangerous time of year for people living on the streets.
“Tackling homelessness is major priority for the council. We do not want to see people homeless and forced to sleep rough. We will continue to do everything in our power to support people into housing and support voluntary groups and organisations who are able to provide frontline support such as the shelter.
“Our work on homelessness is award winning and we are fortunate to have a dedicated pool of volunteers across the borough who support the running of a homeless shelter”.
Phyl McLaren, Chair of the Homeless Working Group, said: "We were pleased to have Cllr Callaghan visit our shelter. All the volunteers, of which we have more than 100 in total, have been amazing with many younger people on the board this year from all walks of life.
"CVS (Council for Voluntary Services) have done an incredible job with obtaining funding and alongside the council have supported us financially to enable us to have a paid night worker at each venue."
Basildon Council currently works with St Mungo’s to provide an outreach service to people sleeping rough in the local community. Outreach workers go out and contact people on the streets, talk to them about their situation, their health and other issues, and help them to move off the streets for good.
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough and want to connect them to local services, contact via the national referral service
Since October last year the council has also been working in partnership with St Mungo’s on its “Change the way you give” campaign which aims to encourage shoppers around Basildon Town Centre to donate to St Mungo’s instead of giving spare change to rough sleepers.
If you would like to donate to the campaign visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/basildon-change
Or text Town53 £3 to 70070.