Fr Stuart Cradduck, Rector of Grantham, has challenged the churches in Grantham to respond to the increasing number of homeless people in the area. Fr Stuart has asked churches to consider opening their buildings during the harshest winter months, and to work towards setting up a permanent emergency shelter within the town.

A number of representatives from churches have begun to plan a way forward, and initial plans include a Sleepout, which will seek to raise awareness of this issue at a local level and also raise funds towards the emergency night shelter.

Grantham’s first Sleepout will take place in the grounds of Grantham House on Friday, 6th December 2019 from 9pm–7am, and in looking ahead to the Sleepout, Fr Stuart has said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this event, to spend the night outside no matter what the weather to see a glimpse of what it is like to be homeless for the night.”

The event is open to everyone, and more details, including a briefing document, flyers, individual registration forms, group registration forms (which need to be completed in addition to individual forms for those under 18) and sponsorship forms can be found on the St Wulfram’s website

In addition to this, St Wulfram’s, Harrowby Lane Methodist Church, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church will be opening their doors to allow people who are homeless to sleep in their churches. This will begin each night from Monday, 6th January 2020, and each week one of the churches will take a turn in hosting those who are homeless.

In order to make this happen, however, Fr Stuart has said that it must be a cross-community initiative, with the whole community coming together to support those who are vulnerable in the town. Four volunteers are required to help each night at each location.

Fr Stuart and the ‘Grantham Ark’ committee will be asking community groups and individuals to support this initiative, and anyone interested in helping should contact the committee via email.

Training sessions for volunteers will be held on 8th and 14th November 2019 (venue to be confirmed), and this will be provided by INN Churches, which is an initiative based in Bradford.

As Fr Stuart has said, “We live in a time when those on the ‘edges of society’ are too often forgotten or ignored, and I sincerely hope that people will recognise this growing situation and respond to this call for help as the church communities come together to try and help those on the margins of our lives.”