This was the second year of us coordinating the project here at Hounslow Methodist Bell Road. Again Margaret and I were the co-coordinators from Bell Rd. Steve with the help of Susan were the co- coordinators form St Mary’s.
We had a full house straight away and most Thursday nights there were between 10-15 men staying over. We also for the first time people joining us just for a meal. On some Thursdays it felt like we were feeding the five thousand!
We also had a few women coming in to have a meal which was nice and many volunteers were very good donating things for these women.
Our guest list was a mixture of different men from different countries, but majority of our men were from Poland.
We worked differently this year; following from our social last year and comments from Volunteers from both Churches, it was suggested that it would be nice to mix the two churches together. So Margaret organised the rota for both churches so each week there was a mixture of volunteers from both churches. Steve, Margaret and I tried to be there each week as well.
We had over 50 volunteers doing different things such as cooking, helping to set up the beds, laying the tables, welcoming the guests, sleeping over, doing breakfast and doing the washing. It was so nice to see so many people helping out. Thank you to all who helped one way or another to make this project such a success.
We finished the project with a social on 30th April, where we shared a meal and reflected on the project. Some volunteers were asked to share some of their experiences over the 4 months. We also asked for comments about what went well and what we can do better which will prove very valuable for the next project.
We had a new Shelter coordinator called Beverly who set up some training courses which some of us went on. This was mental health training, Food Hygiene course, Drugs and Alcohol and First Aid training. John and I also did Safeguarding training for other volunteers involved in other churches.
Beverley was also available each week if we needed her too. In addition, we had a great case worker called Raj who was very supportive to the guests and us. We were informed that nearly all the men have been resettled, however the main problem now is getting the men to keep their accommodation. Beverley is going start a befriending service so volunteers can support the men with any problems that they might have. If anyone is interested please let me know so I can pass your details to Beverley.
As a Church can we pray that we have the strength and guidance to continue to do the Lord’s work.