An update on Caritas Diocese of Brentwood from Fr Dominic Howarth:
The Sponsored Sleepout held at Abbotswick on 12 April raised at least £7,000 for homeless projects within the Diocese, and for the work of the BCYS. This amazing total was achieved by 70 people from 18 parishes sleeping out at Walsingham House at Abbotswick on Friday 12th – Saturday 13th April, including Fr Martin Boland, the Dean of the Cathedral and Steven Webb, Director of Development for the Diocese. We are already looking at a date to repeat the event next year. The Basildon Confirmandi were amongst those sleeping out, and it would be wonderful to have more Confirmation groups involved next year. We’ll publicise a date for 2020 in the next few weeks.
A focus on homelessness will be a feature for the rest of 2019; we are especially keen to make contact with people in parishes who have run winter shelters, or who run projects serving hot food to the homeless. Currently on the website are the Christian Kitchen, Walthamstow; BENS and Project 58:7, Basildon; NEWway and Caritas Anchor House, Newham. We are awaiting details of the Southend Churches Winter Night Shelter. But we are sure that there are more, and we would like to bring as many local volunteers together as possible for an evening to share good practice, celebrate what is being done, share sources of funding, and provide a network of mutual support as the needs of those who sleep rough get more complex and their number becomes more numerous; it will not be many months until winter 2019 is upon us.