THE LEAMINGTON Night Shelter (LNS) has closed its doors for good.
The Christian initiative was set-up by Margaret Moore and Chris Johnson in 2009 to provide food and shelter to the homeless and other people in need.
The charity began life at Bath Place Community Ventre, but following a devastating fire, LNS was offered a home in March 2010 at Radford Road Methodist/URC Church, where it operated from up to the pandemic when lockdown restrictions forced it to close.
Over the years the charity provided hot meals and a safe place for the homeless to stay on Wednesday and Sunday nights – serving nearly 1,400 people, many of who were homeless.
During the pandemic LNS supported other frontline charities, giving monthly donations to Helping Hands, The Way Ahead Project that operates at the Salvation Army and the LWS Night Shelter.
But faced with many changes post-pandemic the trustees decided the time was right to stop rather than try and start again from scratch.
A spokesperson said: “The homeless situation has changed greatly since we began in 2009 and although the homeless situation has not gone away entirely things are different from when we began.
“When lockdown first came into force in March 2020 the homeless situation changed overnight by the homeless being put into accommodation. This was made possible with extra Government funding and credit to Warwick District Council for leading and coordinating the “Everyone In” initiative, also the other agencies mentioned above in supporting the former rough sleepers to remain inside.
“Since then, the people have gradually become housed from temporary to permanent accommodation although, there are still some people on the streets.”
Other help now available was also cited in the decision to close LNS.
This included the efforts of P3 which supports people on the streets and Warwick District Council’s SWEP (severe weather emergency provision) scheme which offers rough sleepers a bed for the night when temperatures plummet below zero.
LNS thanked all its supporters and volunteers down the years – without who the charity could not have achieved what it did
Leamington mayor Nick Wilkins, a former volunteer with the shelter, recently joined other volunteers and trustees to celebrate the work of LNS.