£10,000 grant will shelter West Norfolk's homeless over Christmas
King's Lynn Winter Night Shelter (KLWNS) has received a grant for £10,000 to fund accommodation for the homeless throughout Christmas and New Year.
Norfolk's Freemasons stepped in to provide the newly-opened night shelter with the much-needed funds to provide accommodation to those most in need.
Project co-ordinator Lucy McKitterick said: "We were delighted to be invited by the Norfolk Freemasons to apply for a grant from their national charitable giving this year. We were even more pleased when having been turned down for a national grant due to the hugely increased need in this Covid year, the Norfolk branch wanted to support themselves with this wonderfully generous grant.
"It will be a great help in a difficult year and will be used to help with the increased running costs of staffing the shelter 24 hours for the first time this year to ensure we are providing a Covid-secure home for our guests."
She added: "It is always lovely when local groups and friends support the work of the Night Shelter: not just to know they are behind what we do, but to know the care and concern which Norfolk feels for the homeless in our community.
"In this hard year and difficult and lonely Christmas this generosity to those in need is one way that people are coming together, supporting others, and helping to give hope. Thank you to our Freemason friends!"
The Winter Night Shelter opened in November after planning permission was granted to convert an old Vicarage next to St John's Church, on Blackfriars Road earlier this year.
The building now provides a haven for those sleeping rough – including those who became homeless when the emergency-funded hotel rooms closed a the end of June, or were evicted during the summer lockdown.
The shelter provides free overnight accommodation in individual rooms, a hot dinner, breakfast and packed lunch, showers and laundry facilities for men and women over 18 under the supervision of five staff and trained volunteers.
Since first launching in 2017, project co-ordinator Lucy McKitterick says KLWNS has supported dozens of people, including 104 who stayed last winter.
Now in the much larger building on Blackfriars Road, it enables them to receive more guests during colder weather when demand is greatest, while enforcing social distancing measures.
Stephen Allen, Norfolk’s Head of Freemasonry said: "The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable conditions. Supporting local charities helping those needing safe shelter and meals is one of our key priorities at this time of year."