‘Remarkable’ year for Rugby Winter Shelter

Revd Dr Michael Bochenski with some of the Hope 4 team
Revd Dr Michael Bochenski with some of the Hope 4 team

The organiser of a winter shelter for vulnerable people said it had been a ‘remarkable year’ after nearly 70 people used the facility.

Team leaders from the seven Rugby churches who provided a bed for those in need over the winter met with the Rev Dr Michael Bochenski, chairman of Rugby-based homeless and housing charity Hope 4, and support workers Pete Wayman and Sarah Malone, to review this year’s shelter project which ran from December to March.

Compassion and hospitality such as this is priceless

Rev Dr Michael Bochenski

The Rugby Winter Shelter 2014-5 served 68 registered guests during the project period. The seven churches were able to provide 1,033 bednights for the guests.

Dr Bochenski has co-ordinated the Rugby Winter Shelter for the last four years.

He said: “This has been another remarkable year of interchurch and community partnership.

“Because of it we have been able – again - to respond compassionately to the needs of some of our borough’s most vulnerable people.

“What price can be put on a hot meal, a warm bed and hall, and a good breakfast in a winter as cold as this one has been at times?

“Compassion and hospitality such as this is priceless.”

The latest statistics show that 41 of the shelter’s guests were British born, 31 were from European countries, and four guests were from Portugal, Ghana and Jamaica.

There were seven female guests who used the shelter this year and the oldest guest was 64, the youngest was 18.

To date, 16 of the guests have been helped towards more permanent housing with the help of the Rugby Borough Council housing team and other housing agencies.

Pete Wayman, senior support worker at Hope 4, said: “The Hope Centre is often a first port of call for people who are needing winter shelter in the town.

“Most guests are first referred to us by staff at the council or the Citizens Advice Bureau and we then seek to offer them help which is free at the point of need.

“Without the donations of volunteer time, food and money from hundreds of people across our town, we just would not be able to do this.”