TWO HOMELESS shelters in Leamington have been forced to close their doors to overnight guests.
Leamington Night Shelter, which operates from Radford Road Church on Wednesdays and Sundays, has suspended its service following government advice to avoid public gatherings to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
And LWS Night Shelter bosses have decided to reduce its service to providing food outside the shelter – the former Priors Club in Tower Street – rather than invite guests in to spend the night.
An LWS spokesperson said: “Sadly, in light of recent news, we have taken the decision to reduce our service to provide food and supplies only, with no overnight service.
“We have not taken this decision lightly as it has major implications for our rough sleeping population, but we want to act responsibly and help to protect the wellbeing of both guests and volunteers.
“We just don’t feel like there is enough support or adequate resources in place for us to continue opening as a shelter in the current conditions. While we want to support our guests, it would be irresponsible for us to go against government guidance about large groups congregating. We don’t want to risk introducing covid into our vulnerable service user group, or risk volunteers becoming ill and the impact that would have on their lives, too.”
Homeless charity Helping Hands has offered to step in on Wednesday and Sunday nights to ensure food and essential items can still be given out from its shop in Gloucester Street.
And LWS plans to serve food on Friday and Saturday evening, and Sunday morning.
Food parcels, sleeping bags, blankets, clothing, toiletries and laundry facilities will be provided and a nurse will be there on Friday for those with concerns about their health.
The organisation is looking for volunteers to help distribute food.
Search ‘LWS Night Shelter’ on Facebook for more details.