4 January 2017
Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation, also known as Neve Shalom, has teamed up with other faiths in the area for a unique project to help the city’s homeless.
A night shelter – providing overnight bed, board and support for 10 homeless men – will rotate between the synagogue, Anglican and Catholic churches, a Muslim community centre and a Hindu temple over the next 11 weeks. Quakers and Sikhs will provide meals and additional support. It is the first multifaith venture of its kind in the UK.
More than 200 people of all faiths, and none, have volunteered to support the project – which is managed by One Roof, a consortium of independent faith, community and voluntary sector organisations supporting the homeless, destitute and vulnerably housed in Leicester.
Neve Shalom’s Michle Benn said: “When we told our 85 synagogue members that our sanctuary, our worship hall, was going to be a night shelter for the homeless, once a week… we got an amazing response.
“To date, 35 of our members are actively involved. These range from our oldest member at 93, who can’t get out in the evenings but is providing tea and coffee, to parents of our youngest babies who have formed a team of three families to cook, and sleep over, whilst juggling child care. We are also swimming in offers of soup.
“And beyond our community, it’s bringing people together in our synagogue, in an unprecedented way. Members from the Orthodox Hebrew Synagogue, Quakers, volunteers from the other communities in the project, personal friends with no professed faith, work colleagues, friends of colleagues and complete strangers – everyone is offering to help.”
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