By Mellissa Dzinzi
ROUGH SLEEPERS in Bradford will be offered beds in 17 churches across the city during the Christmas period.
The “Christmas Homeless Project” run by The Inn Churches will be running from December 4 until the end of March.
Daniel Bushwell, welfare manager at The Inn Church, said: “The average age of someone who is homeless in the Bradford area is roughly around 36. It can be lonely and hard around this time of year.”
Seventeen churches are involved in the project to host and support twelve homeless people weekly in different parish halls, where they will be offering individual beds and hot meals each night.
Father Gregory Knowles, of St Cuthbert and First Martyr RC Church, said: “This is the first time we have been involved in the project. We are putting our Christian values into practise by supporting those who need our help.
“Since the parish announced they would be taking part in the project this year, over 30 volunteers have come forward to offer their services and to donate money to help fund the project.”
Member of the parish and volunteer, Hannah Hayward, 32, said: “This project brings to reality the nativity story, with Mary and Joseph being homeless too. The church is a sanctuary and more should be done to help these people especially at this time of year.
“Since I volunteered I have managed to persuade seven other people to volunteer. If the church does not help these people who will?”
Mr Bushwell added: “Immigrants and asylum seekers tend to suffer the most during this time of year because they are not allowed to work or receive any health care. The Inn Church is open to everyone who is in need – even people who have bad relationships at home, they all receive support from us even after the project has finished.
“We rely on organisations such as Simon on the Streets, Street Angels, the police and various other organisations to refer people to us for the project.”