For a number of years, the Parish has hosted the winter night shelter co-ordinated by the Redhill charity the Renewed Hope. The shelter runs from December to March in a number of churches in East Surrey where homeless people are welcomed in for an evening cooked meal, a roof over their heads for the night and breakfast in a safe and welcoming environment. Both St Wilf's and St Bart's Churches have been overnight venues for the ministry, which has grown over the years.
There are many ways to help, including driving, befriending, cooking, serving dinner or fundraising and there are also opportunities to donate food, clothing and toiletries.
What the volunteers say
It has been a blessing to many church members who have volunteered as well as those we have helped.
“It’s amazing and a privilege to help these people on a small part of their journey. They are in desperate need for someone to just love them and listen to them – and treat them like normal human beings. I have volunteered as a befriender and on the welcome team and, for the first time this year, taken up the role of shift supervisor. I would recommend volunteering to anybody as an experience that is eye-opening, sometimes shocking, but immensely rewarding! Anna
“It’s certainly been rewarding. I’ve made some new friends amongst the other volunteers and learned lots about some of the particular hardships the homeless face – not just having nowhere consistent to sleep, but physical and political barriers facing them because of past addiction or criminal record. But it’s good to know we can do something for them as well as pray they will find the strength to get back on track, as some of them have from previous years.” James
“This was my second year of helping and I found it a humbling and uplifting experience. When people have nothing but can still be thankful and optimistic it makes you realise how lucky you are to have somewhere to sleep and enough food to eat. Sometimes in our busy lives we lose sight of just how blessed we are. I work in a Reigate school and discovered several people who couldn’t help as a volunteer due to family commitments but gave me toiletries and clothes to pass on, the school also gave me fresh fruit to share. Hopefully it will run again next year if needed but how wonderful it would be if something more permanent could be found. God Bless and watch over them all when the shelter ends and keep them safe.” Tina
If you would like to get involved please speak to someone in your Church for more information or contact the Parish Office. You can also register for updates on the Renewed Hope website.