Each winter, around 30 churches across Lambeth and Southwark operate the Robes night shelter for the homeless at two venues every night.

When St Philip’s in Camberwell joined us, Reverend Vyvyan reported back on what a great experience it was for the church.

A host church’s story

David Vyvyan“Last year was our first year as a host venue, but what we lacked in experience we made up for in enthusiasm and we soon had a strong team working to make everything happen. The support from Robes was great and the chance to see another venue in action really helped.

Once it became known what we were doing we had offers of help from across the community including the Bermondsey Community Kitchen whose young trainee chefs prepared dinner for us one week and the South Bermondsey Big Local who paid for that week’s food.

Many of our volunteers were not members of the church and it was wonderful to be able to build these links and to see people who perhaps don’t have much to give financially really welcome the chance to give in other ways.

Those who volunteered enthused to others about the project and said how much they enjoyed working with the guests, how for some it changed their perceptions of homelessness, and how sad they were when the shelter closed in the spring.

We are already looking forward to reopening our doors to the guests this winter.”

Reverend David Vyvyan, St Philip’s, Camberwell

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