A huge thank you to the Shropshire community for its ongoing support; we were overwhelmed by the generosity of businesses and individuals alike who chose to support us either financially or practically over the Christmas period.

Our thanks also go to Chef Marcus Bean and his team, and our many volunteers who gave our clients a delicious Christmas dinner; our clients really enjoyed tucking into a turkey roast with all the trimmings followed by the traditional Christmas pudding.

What next? With the New Year, we have new challenges.

Cold weather provision  - Working with Shropshire Council as the cold weather arrived, we’d helped eight rough sleepers to move off our streets into accommodation in December. Though some of this accommodation is temporary for the winter, the stability it gives provides an opportunity to work more effectively with those seeking longer-term solutions.

“This has also been due to the support we have from other partners including West Mercia Police, Shropshire Recovery Partnership, Shropshire Housing Alliance, and Mental Health services,” adds Tim Compton, Shrewsbury Ark manager.

While every rough sleeper on our streets has been offered accommodation during the winter months, regardless of their circumstances. In the event of the temperature dropping further to dangerous levels, working with numerous agencies in Shropshire, we do have provisions for somewhere warm and safe for those who accept it on those coldest nights.

“Sadly, even when this emergency provision has been provided locally to rough sleepers in previous years, some have still chosen to decline it and remain on the streets, though the service is accessible to all who would otherwise be out in the cold, and it is free of charge” says Tim.

We never charge clients for services

Protecting and supporting people to move on with their lives is what the Shrewsbury Ark is about. Relying totally on charitable donations and grants, we never charges for our services and as a Charity, we are run by just three paid members of staff and well over 40 volunteers.

We are open each weekday and rough sleepers have open access for breakfast each morning. As well as receiving practical support such as help with accessing services, throughout the day, they have the support to develop life skills and participate in planned activities to help them move forward with their lives.

The Ark’s outreach service operates in partnership with West Mercia Police, Shropshire Council, Mental Health Services, Substance Misuse Services, and other partner-organisations to support and encourage those vulnerable rough sleepers to access the help available to them.

If you are concerned someone is sleeping rough on the street, contact Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 or online at www.streetlink.org.uk.

Streetlink forwards details to us and Shropshire Council’s Housing Options Team, so that together we can make contact and ensure that support is available to any individual in need.

We do not provide overnight accommodation, and there is no night shelter in Shrewsbury.