20 January 2020
Kingston Liberal Synagogue (KLS) welcomed Sophie Mayor from The Haven – the area’s winter night shelter for the homeless – for a special service and talk.
Sophie is the night shelter coordinator for the charity Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness, which runs The Haven during the winter months. It’s an open-access premises which means that people are able to arrive at any time during the night, enabling some of the most vulnerable to find shelter.
Each night, meals are provided by local restaurants and cafés. Various other services are also offered by local businesses including eye testing, chiropody, drug and alcohol-related counselling and digital training. The Haven operates thanks to a team of over 350 volunteers from the local community, some of who are KLS members.
Sophie explained how the shelter has a good track record of helping its visitors into sustainable accommodation, assisting with everything from accompanying individuals to appointments to providing practical help to enable them to successfully transition to life in housing.
Speaking after the service, Kingston’s Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel said: “It was really inspiring to listen to Sophie speak about the work of the night shelter. In particular about its success in helping people into sustainable accommodation.
“It was also really uplifting to hear about the huge number of volunteers from the area – both individuals and businesses – who contribute to the successful running of the shelter. Some of our KLS members already help out with the night shelter but I’m sure many more will be inspired to do so after hearing Sophie speak.”
Sophie added: “I was really impressed that the community asked so many questions, especially the young members, and many people approached me afterwards to ask about volunteering opportunities. I look forward to welcoming many KLS members to the night shelter in future.”
- Picture: Sophie Mayor (centre) with KLS publicity officer, Rebecca Singerman-Knight (left), and Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel (right).
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