Vicarage to become the home of King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter

Vicarage to become the home of King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter
The picture shows volunteers preparing St John’s House for use as a Night Shelter … all observing “social distancing” of course!

The King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter will move to a new home this summer ready to welcome the homeless again in the autumn.

Planning permission has been granted to convert the old Vicarage next to St John’s Church on Blackfriars Road into a shelter for the homeless. The new Night Shelter, St John’s House, will open at the end of October.

The new building is much larger than the Night Shelter’s former premises at St Ann’s Fort and will eventually be able to accommodate more guests than has been possible in previous winters. Discussions are in progress with the Borough Council on how to open safely if Covid-19 restrictions are still with us in the autumn, to ensure that guests can have their own space and are able to isolate if needed.

Lucy McKitterick, Co-ordinator of the Night Shelter, said:

“St John’s House is a really exciting project and will be a wonderful new temporary “home” this winter for people who have none. It’s the first vicarage in Norfolk to be used for this purpose and a great witness to faith in action in our community: we’re here for people who have lost everything, and what better way to show them how much they are valued than a beautiful big house to welcome them. There’s also a large garden with a lot of potential to develop as a community project, perhaps involving some of our guests: we look forward to seeing what we can all do!

The key to helping the homeless is partnership working and we’re looking forward to working with the Borough Council and partner agencies again this winter to make sure the new Night Shelter is here for those who need it most: and that everyone who stays here will have access to the best possible support to help them find a home of their own.

We had 104 people come to stay last winter: many will have been helped by the emergency plans under Covid-19 in the last few months which have seen many people housed who might otherwise have waited months or years. The Council and others have done an incredible job to make that possible. At the same time we know that homelessness isn’t solved yet: we want to make sure everyone has somewhere to stay this winter, and we look forward to being part of the solution for them in King’s Lynn in 2020 and beyond.”

The Rev’d Becca Rogers, Vicar of St John’s Church, said:

“We moved from St John’s Vicarage in April 2019, to a new vicarage in North Lynn. St John’s is a wonderful house, but was always very big as a family home! We could not be more delighted that it is becoming ‘St John’s House’: a place of welcome, provision and ‘home’, for those who find themselves homeless.

The congregation of St John’s church, next door, where I am vicar, is also excited to see the vicarage developing in this way. Some members of our congregation are homeless and previously homeless, and a number volunteer at the night shelter. As a church, we have a desire to be more involved, so this move feels very positive and right.”

The Night Shelter will be looking for volunteers again in the autumn and will post updates from September in the local press, on the website and on Facebook @klwns.

To make a donation to support the work of converting St John’s House into a night shelter this summer, please see the link on our website or send a cheque to King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter, St John’s House, Blackfriars Road, King’s Lynn PE30 1NT.

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