Gosport churches to open to give homeless people a place to sleep this winter

Philip Rutt, left, and Kevin Gallagher. 'Picture: David George
Philip Rutt, left, and Kevin Gallagher. 'Picture: David George
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ROUGH sleepers in Gosport will be able to sleep in church halls in the cold winter months, thanks to a new project.

Gosport Open Doors is working to open churches as night shelters for winter.

As well as a place for the town's homeless to stay, and provide a healthy hot dinner and breakfast, it will offer a chance to rebuild trust though volunteers’ friendship.

The project will work alongside Gosport Borough Council and other organisations to get rough sleepers back on their feet.

Philip Rutt said: 'People see the problem of rough sleepers but don't see the person.

'The services and rooms that can be used as night shelters are in place, so we're hoping to get some serious results for the town's rough sleepers.'

Kevin Gallagher, the director of Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth, which is the official charity the project will sit under, has also run a similar scheme in Windsor, added: 'There will probably be around 10 to 12 rough sleepers each night.

'Everyone will eat together and talk - and those conversations will lead to discussing how we can help in the long term.

'For some of these people it will be the first proper chat they've had with someone in a very long time.'

Now, the group is on the hunt for volunteers - who will be given full training in drug and alcohol awareness, conflict management and much more.

'The more people there are to help these guys out, the better,' said Philip.

'We're just looking for people who are compassionate and generous, who want to make a difference for people who need the most help.'

He explained that the scheme aims to be 'so much more' than just a bed for the night.

Kevin added: 'We know that the people of Gosport care about rough sleepers and don't want to just stand by and do nothing.'

The group wants to help as many people as possible, but believes that even getting one person off the streets for good will be a success.

There is a meeting on Friday, October 11 at St Mary's Church in Gosport High Street, at 7.30pm.

See the Gosport Open Doors Facebook group, or email gosportopendoors@gmail.com.