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King's Lynn winter night shelter to move to new home to accommodate more guests



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The winter night shelter in Lynn is set to move to a new home this summer, before welcoming homeless guests once again in the autumn.

Planning permission has been granted to convert the old Vicarage next to St John’s Church on Blackfriars Road into a shelter for the homeless.

The new King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter at St John’s House will open at the end of October.

King's Lynn Winter Night Shelter is moving into a new home at the Old Vicarage next to St John's Church in King's Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36652127)
King's Lynn Winter Night Shelter is moving into a new home at the Old Vicarage next to St John's Church in King's Lynn. Picture: SUBMITTED. (36652127)

Officials say the new building is “much larger” than the night shelter’s former premises at St Ann’s Fort and will eventually be able to accommodate more guests than has been possible in previous winters.

They say discussions are in progress with West Norfolk Council on how to open safely if Covid-19 restrictions are still in place in the autumn, to ensure that guests can have their own space and are able to isolate if needed.

Lucy McKitterick, co-ordinator of the night shelter, said: “St John’s House is a really exciting project and will be a wonderful new temporary ‘home’ this winter for people who have none.

King's Lynn Winter Night Shelter's previous premises at St Ann's Fort
King's Lynn Winter Night Shelter's previous premises at St Ann's Fort

“It’s the first vicarage in Norfolk to be used for this purpose and a great witness to faith in action in our community – we’re here for people who have lost everything, and what better way to show them how much they are valued than a beautiful, big house to welcome them.

“There’s also a large garden with a lot of potential to develop as a community project, perhaps involving some of our guests – we look forward to seeing what we can all do.

“The key to helping the homeless is partnership working and we’re looking forward to working with the borough council and partner agencies again this winter to make sure the new night shelter is here for those who need it most, and that everyone who stays here will have access to the best possible support to help them find a home of their own.”

Last winter, a total of 104 people visited the night shelter – many of whom have been helped by the emergency Covid-19 plans to find housing who might otherwise have waited months or years.

“The council and others have done an incredible job to make that possible,” Miss McKitterick added.

“At the same time we know that homelessness isn’t solved yet.

“We want to make sure everyone has somewhere to stay this winter, and we look forward to being part of the solution for them in King’s Lynn in 2020 and beyond.”

The Rev’d Becca Rogers, vicar of St John’s Church, said: “We moved from St John’s Vicarage in April 2019, to a new vicarage in North Lynn.

“St John’s is a wonderful house, but was always very big as a family home!

“We could not be more delighted that it is becoming ‘St John’s House’ – a place of welcome, provision and ‘home’, for those who find themselves homeless.

“The congregation of St John’s church, next door, where I am vicar, is also excited to see the vicarage developing in this way.

“Some members of our congregation are homeless and previously homeless, and a number volunteer at the night shelter.

“As a church, we have a desire to be more involved, so this move feels very positive and right.”

The night shelter will be looking for volunteers again in the autumn, with updates from September at www.klwns.org.uk and on Facebook @klwns.

To make a donation to support the work of converting St John’s House into a night shelter this summer, see the link on the night shelter website or alternatively send a cheque to King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter, St John’s House, Blackfriars Road, King’s Lynn PE30 1NT.



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