Remember the cold winter of 2010, the snow, the bitter chill?
Well just over the last few days end of February/early March 2018 we have experienced that same ice cold winter reminiscent of 2010. The very reason the WNSMK was indeed formed was to provide supervised overnight accommodation to homeless and vulnerable people who would otherwise be rough sleeping during the extreme winter months of early December and and mid-March each year. They work in partnership with several Milton Keynes churches that provide their facilities free of charge. A large team of volunteers from across the city come together to cook nutritious meals and provide a friendly safe environment each evening.
Last year 1st Financial Foundations raised money to support the shelter. This year one of our team members volunteered to help out hands on and experienced first hand the good work both volunteers and long term supporters of the shelter provide.
“Its eye opening, no one can quite imagine what it must be like to live on the streets, no hot running water, no tv or mod cons… no privacy or choice.”
We assume the homeless do not have jobs, some do they just can not afford accommodation. Some people have been able to secure jobs after direct help from the WNSMK, volunteers have been known to take the homeless shopping to purchase suitable interview clothing and drive them to interviews. Help with filling out a form or simply a few kind words of encouragement goes a long way, its a line of small things that helps achieve that giant step to be housed again and indeed to be accepted socially back into society without passing judgement. We walk pass homeless people on the street everyday, its unfortunately become the norm in the city and dominantly young males desperately in need of shelter.
There is a story behind each individual, the downward spiral of ending up on the streets could happen to anyone. Divorce, gambling, drugs, domestic abuse, job loss, family loss or just bad luck resulting in the loss of your home.
The WNSMK houses homeless persons ranging from Manchester to Eastern Europe. Milton Keynes has become popular for its shelter on the underpasses. Homeless are given access to doctors, dentists for which they are very grateful. Some of the volunteers who have a skill i.e hair cutting, manicure, hand massage would share their services in the evenings as a little extra.
Yash Tosar from 1stFF works closely with the Kanakpur Foundation Charity to raise funds yearly, this year the Kanakpur Foundation will donate a further £1500 to the WNSMK. The shelter is run mainly by unpaid volunteers and makes a huge difference to the lives of our MK citizens. Providing a safe place to sleep on the coldest nights of the year not only saves lives but prevents desperate actions that may be taken just to survive on the streets. We must not forget the shelter is only open for a few months of the year and the intake is increasing yearly, all donations are grateful.
How wonderful would it be to reduce the number of homeless on our streets to zero and for everyone to show a little kindness next time they are out.
To find out more about Winter Night Shelter or make your own donation please view their website: www.winternightsheltermk.com
Thank you for reading – The 1st Financial Foundations Team