INN Churches Bradford
Inn Churches is a unique project aimed at offering shelter, food and companionship to homeless people in Bradford during December, January and February, the coldest time of the year. Emergency accommodation is provided, seven nights a week, in participating city centre churches staffed by over 400 volunteers. Since its inception in 2010, they have provided over 3,000 temporary beds for homeless and vulnerable people in the Bradford area. Watch this YouTube video for a moving account of their activities.
The Christmas services raised £1,078 for the INN CHURCHES project.
'Inn Churches (the Bradford winter shelter for the homeless) had its last overnight on Sunday 26 February and during the three months we have been running we have provided 1,115 beds for 74 different individuals. Two thirds of our guests have already been 'moved on' with the support of other organisations and individuals: some were moved into permanent accommodation; a few into health care and some were helped to return abroad to their home. One surprise this year were a few who came to us who had been trafficked into Bradford in appalling conditions.
Throughout the period of the project we were assisted by statutory agencies, including the police and Bradford Council, and many other organisations and individuals. We were supported by 420+ volunteers from 70+ churches of various denominations, and one hosting church was regularly supplied with samosas by their local Mosque to accompany their evening meal. The model of one hosting church each week proved to be a great success and something we will do next year.
Making such a significance difference in the lives of very vulnerable people is always rewarding, but the joy of sharing a meal with new friends is always a particular surprise. Fritz Eichenberg, a Quaker artist usually associated with the Catholic Worker movement produced an extraordinary woodcut: 'Christ of the Breadlines' which shows a silhouette of Christ queuing with the homeless. I have no doubt that Christ came among us during our care for the vulnerable and we discovered again that we receive more than we can ever give.
I would like to record my particular thanks to Julie, Craig and Shawna, to all of the hosting coordinators at each of the churches, to the many teams who provided delicious meals, in the evening and at breakfast, to those who cleaned duvets and clothes, and to all those who just came and listened, played cards and games. It's easy to have a good idea but such ideas can only be realised when others share the vision and help fulfil the dream.'
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