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update: 18 January 2018

First homeless shelter launched in Richmond

The first homeless shelter in Richmond opened Monday 15 January 2018 with fourteen individuals turning up to spend the night in a hall at St Elizabeth of Portugal church.

The guests — 13 men and one woman — were welcomed by a team of ten volunteers, who provided hot teas and coffees at the entrance. At 8pm, the guests sat down at tables set with tablecloths and china.

White ferry lights wrapped around columns under the vaulted brick ceiling gave the space a warm glow, recalls Lewis Gates, the Glass Door caseworker in attendance. Says Lewis:

The volunteers made the space really warm and welcoming.

Volunteers and guests sat together at communal tables to share a meal comprised of homemade soup, chicken and potatoes for the main and fruit crumble for dessert. 

The next night, 16 guests joined the shelter at The Vineyard Life Church; by Wednesday, the shelter had reached maximum capacity of 20 individuals.

Glass Door is now managing a waiting list, and anyone looking to join the Richmond shelter circuit is encouraged to either stop by the Vineyard Community Centre, call Glass Door, or fill in the online form

The Richmond shelter circuit has been supported by a grant from Allchurches Trust, one of the UK's largest grant-making trusts benefitting churches, charities and community. Thanks to our Allchurches Trust grant, we shall be able to pay for shelter equipment, our casework's time, and the costs of running the van to ferry supplies between the partner churches.

"Allchurches Trust were the first to commit to funding this pilot project in Richmond," says fundraising manager Becky Evans. "We're grateful to them for valuing the work we do and hope it encourages others to join us in supporting the Richmond shelters so it can continue to offer a safe refuge for those who have nowhere else to turn." 

29 November 2017

Richmond churches join Glass Door network 

Glass Door has forged new partnerships with churches in Richmond upon Thames to open a new circuit of night shelters.  The new shelters, set to open on 15 January 2018, will allow 20 individuals to find a safe space to sleep every night until the Glass Door winter season finishes on 8 April. 

"Churches across the borough have reported a noticeable rise in homelessness," says Revd Joe Moffatt, whose parish St Mary's with St Albans was one of the first churches to join the new circuit. He adds:

Statistically, we are one of the least deprived parishes in London, yet even here there is an increasing issue with home insecurity and hidden poverty.

Churches working in Partnership

Seven churches are coming together to form a new circuit of shelters, with each church taking a turn one night of the week. Others have offered to help recruit volunteers. The churches that will be hosting the shelters are:

Glass Door's Chair of Trustees Revd Brian Leathard says:

This is another encouraging example of how churches of different denominations can work together to relieve suffering and make the community a better place for everyone.

Revd Wilma Roest says the congregations under the umbrella of the Richmond Team Ministry have been looking to find a way to "help those who are sleeping rough in our town, the ones we see on our way to church and those who come to us for some support." She adds:

Rev Wilma RoestThis project offers a practical, sensible and realistic way of bringing some comfort during these cold months. And we believe it is a way of sharing the love of God by being ‘hands-on’!

Help to move beyond homelessness

During the daytime, guests of the new circuit will be able to get advice from a Glass Door caseworker based at the Vineyard Community Centre, a Richmond-based drop-in community support centre for those affected by homelessness.

The new service will be run as a pilot scheme. Assuming the service is useful and the necessary funds can be raised, Glass Door will reopen the Richmond circuit for 22 weeks next winter.