I would like to respond to the letter that mayor Caroline Heaps wrote in the Herald last week (February 11).
In July Major David Squirrell and myself attended a conference in Birmingham where we first heard about churches getting together to run winter shelters for the homeless. I was very excited about what I had heard and decided to look into it further.
At an Eastbourne Churches Together meeting in November Major Squirrell put the idea forward to see what the response would be. In January Major Squirrell and myself attended another conference in London to learn more about how to arrange a winter shelter project.
There have now been four Eastbourne Churches Together meetings held where this idea has been discussed and we are now at the point where four churches are interested in taking part, seven would be an ideal number. Major Squirrell is now in the process of arranging for the minister who has run these winter shelters in other towns to come to Eastbourne to give training.
Due to the commitments the Salvation Army has working with the homeless in Eastbourne, it was felt that someone else who could give the full commitment necessary should run the project although we will continue to be involved, especially with the facilities and expertise we can offer, and I believe there is someone who has shown an interest in this post.
This project is in its early stages and a great deal of decisions and work need to be done, but it is hoped that the winter shelter will take place over the winter months at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012.
I am sure more information about this project will be available later in the year, but I felt that the residents who are concerned about the people who have to sleep rough throughout the winter months will be pleased to know that the churches in Eastbourne are already working together to try and combat this problem.
community development worker