Collection this Month
Our collection this month is for the Nepal Children’s Trust
This is organised locally from Brantham with the intention of helping the Nepalese recover from their dreadful earthquake. The woman organiser intends to beat local corruption by personally taking everything there.
If you wish to donate but can’t attend at the Meeting House, please send a cheque to Rachel Bach made out to “Ipswich Quakers”. Please send this before the end of the month concerned.
Each month we thought that we would also include a quote from Quaker Faith and Practice or from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
QF&P 20.06. Some among us have a clear sense of what is right and wrong-for themselves personally if not for everyone else. They have a reassuring certitude and steadiness which can serve as a reference point by which others may navigate. There are others who live in a state of uncertainty, constantly re-thinking their responses to changing circumstances, trying to hold onto what seems fundamental but impelled to reinterpret, often even unsure where lies the boundary between the fundamental and the interpretation.
Ipswich Winter Night Shelter (IWNS)
Ipswich Winter Night shelter commenced operation in the winter of 2011/12 so it has just completed its fifth winter of operation. The one for 2015/16 opened its doors on December 2nd 2015 and ran until March 13th
It involves seven churches in the town opening their doors one night each week to offer a hot evening meal, a bed, and breakfast to up to twelve people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets during the coldest winter nights.
The shelter will not be an ‘on call’ hostel but part of a programme of restoration to bring structure back into chaotic lives,
The response for volunteers had been overwhelming – over 300 people have registered to help, and new offers are always coming in. Most were from the local Christian churches, but a few were members of other religions, or none.
The volunteers work in 3 shifts; an evening shift from 6 pm until 10.15 pm, a night shift from then until 6:45am in the morning, and finally a morning shift, who provide breakfast, until 8.30 am.
The shelter is then closed at 8:30 am and it then reopens at the next allocated church on the following night. This routine continues throughout the opening period moving around differing churches on their allocated nights in any one week.
Each church carries its own stock of camp beds, duvets, blankets pillows etc. as well as IWNs stock in the respective kitchens. Each church is thus self-sufficient making transfer of equipment minimal.
In fact the number of available volunteers exceeds the requirements of the Shelter and often people although registered as been available for “duty” are not allocated to any shift. The evening shift in particular is oversubscribed but even for the least popular shift-the night –there are usually no issues finding Volunteers
I have always undertaken the morning shift. John and Tess Mann are also Volunteers (we are at different churches) and they have always done the evening shift.
For the morning shift there are normally four people on duty plus a team leader.
Two normally undertake kitchen duties whereas two dismantle and pack away the camp beds which have been used by the guests overnight .Used bedding is collected to be sent to a laundry and the establishment is totally cleaned to return it for its normal use as the church’s facility.
Volunteers tend to get involved with one of the seven locations (often the most local one) and the shift teams tend to become very much cohesive groups where people maintain a regular attendance and the members work well around each other. Everyone soon usually finding a job to do or as directed by the shift team leader. Everyone is well committed and usually do not need to be told what to do but just get on with jobs that they can see need doing.
I go to the Community Church in Clarkston Street and John and Tess go to Burlington Baptist Church in London Road.
The Shelter will work alongside agencies already working in the town to encourage the guests to receive help and advice to restore their lives, find long-term accommodation, regain self-esteem, and dignity and return to society as an equal.
The organisation is very professional and conduct training for all new volunteers and refreshers for existing ones at the beginning of each winter. There is often an individual facility “end of term” meal and a combined Volunteer Church service to underpin our work.
The Guests have to undertake an interview to confirm their suitability for using the shelter and also to be informed of the shelters Rules and regulation. They also have to pre-book the beds for each particular night.
I think for 2015/2016 there was only one “banned “prospective guest although there have been more in previous years.
The “feel” of the Shelter does change from year to year regarding “total” number of guests who use the facility, nationality and “bed” occupancy rate from winter to winter.
There were significant differences between the years 2014/15 and 2015/16.
The number of differing guests for 2014/15 was 32 whereas for this year it was 47.i.e For 2014/15 it was a much more stable contingency and around 50 % were of Eastern European original whereas this year was much less
Towards the end of this year our occupancy “rate” dropped to around 8 per night out of available 12 beds. This was good news indicating that some earlier “guests” had found better, most probable more permanent night accommodation. This had not occurred the previous year!
I find the Volunteering a constructive way of giving back to those less capable of maintaining a stable equilibrium in these lives. The vast majority had either legal (alcohol) or illegal additions (drugs).
We are all very fragile, frail and fallible human beings who at one time or another are faced with issues and adverse circumstances in our lives. The vast majority of us manage to overcome these issues but some do not and then their return journey is somewhat more difficult. It is very worthwhile and, meaningful to “care” for them whilst they are in this process!
I am sure there are always openings for new committed volunteers if the work interests anybody. For further information they have a web site: http://www.iwns.org.uk/
Notes from the Treasurer
Special collections: A big thank you to Friends who have donated to our monthly special collections, the last four are as follows:
June £35.27 – Canon Collins Educational and Legal Trust
July £61.91 – Conscience
Aug. £72.00 – Fellowship of Reconciliation
Sept £98.10 – Medical Aid for Palestinians
Donations to Quaker causes
We are sending £100 donation to Quaker Social Action this month from our Meeting funds. You may not know that we have a budget for donating to Quaker causes. This year we have already sent a donation to the Journeyman Theatre (a small Quaker theatre company) to help them put on their production of ‘Over the Top’. If anyone sees an appeal in the Friend or has any suggestions, please let myself and the clerks know and we can put it on the next Business Meeting agenda. I would love to give more money away to Quaker projects!!
Please note because we are a registered charity, the cause has to be a Quaker one, although we can use our special collections or other events to raise funds for non Quaker ones.
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The editors, Richard and Barbara, wish all Friends a very happy and peaceful Christmas time and please remember to keep writing for us.