Snowflake charity wants 85 more volunteers to run homeless winter service

A CHARITY which provides a lifeline for the homeless during the winter months is appealing for 85 more volunteers.

The Snowflake Trust was inaugurated in December 2005 at a meeting in the Seaview Project St Leonards. It aimed to provide shelter and food to locally homeless persons during the coldest months of the year through soup kitchens.

For the first time last winter it provided beds and meals for 58 people between November and March using 119 volunteers. But this year the charity wants 200 volunteers to help provide the vital service for those who find themselves out on the street during the harshest of winter weather. The volunteers work around the clock to provide three meals a day for their guests. They are shared out at church and community halls across Hastings and St Leonards.

This year’s project starts on November 18 and will run until the end of February. Beds will be provided at Salvation Army, St Thomas of Canterbury, St Leonards Baptist Church, St John The Evangelist Church in Brittany Road, St Matthew’s Church in Silverhill and St Mary Star of the Sea in High Street, Old Town.

The shelters open at 7pm and guests are asked to leave by 8am as the venue is handed back to the church. An evening meal, fresh clothing and washing facilities are provided. A variety of activities is also provided including games, dvds, quizzes, singing and discussions. The project is always keen to have fresh socks donated for guests as many arrive with wet feet.

Last year the project was extended in March because of the freezing cold conditions which placed even more demand on the service. A total of 44 men and 14 women stayed for average of 10 nights each at any of the venues involves. The biggest age range was between 35 and 55.

Christopher Maxwell-Stewart, a founding trustee, said: “Our service does provide a lifeline during the darkest winter months. Without it there might be some very tragic stories. We need another 85 volunteers to help us get through this winter. It can be a very dark time for these people. Being out in the cold, they risk hypothermia, bronchitis and pneumonia. We would like to hear from anyone who can spare a few hours.” For more information visit www.snowflake-nightshelter.org.uk or call 07547 482627