Manchester Chaplaincy's Night Shelter hailed as 'brilliant!'

Warm accommodation for asylum seekers at Holy Name Church in Manchester
Warm accommodation for asylum seekers at Holy Name Church in Manchester

The Manchester Universities' Catholic Chaplaincy Night Shelter has been praised for its efficiency after less than three months in operation and for its service to asylum seekers in the city. And, after appealing for volunteers, the organisers have announced – with gratitude – that they have enough for the New Year period.

The Boaz Night Shelter at Holy Name Church was established in October, sharing its ministry with a number of other churches in central Manchester, so there is somewhere for destitute asylum seekers to stay every night throughout the winter. Forty students attended the first training meeting and the Jesuit church on Oxford Road was able to open its doors to ten destitute asylum seekers who would otherwise have been sleeping rough.  They were welcomed with a hot meal and a room in which they could sleep, adjacent to the church's sacristy.

After visiting the Manchester operation last weekend, the Boaz Trust’s Night Shelter Coordinator, Jonny Wilson, wrote: "It genuinely amazed and impressed me to see what a great system you have and how well you understand the Boaz Night Shelter after only two and a half months of being in operation. It's such a relief for me to know that Saturday nights are taken care of and run so smoothly …"

Accommodation and supportThe Night Shelter at Holy Name Church provides a hot meal for asylum seekers

The Boaz Trust is a Christian charity serving destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester. Its aim is to end asylum destitution, with a view to enabling people who are seeking sanctuary in the UK to lead fulfilling lives. To this end, it provides accommodation and support for destitute asylum seekers and refugees, and campaigns for a more compassionate asylum system.

The Manchester Chaplaincy's Interfaith Coordinator, Hinna, is an asylum seeker herself so she knows first hand how important the Night Shelter is. "Being an asylum seeker myself, I am overwhelmed by the way God is using my personal experience in helping others who are on a similar journey as myself," she says.

Jonny Wilson says that as he drove home on Saturday night, he felt deeply encouraged by what he had seen at Holy Name Church. "For Boaz to have the first Catholic church on board with the BNS (Boaz Night Shelter), the co-ordinator to be someone seeking asylum herself, the person cooking food to be a refugee that came here as part of the Syrian resettlement scheme and it all to be run by students volunteering on a Saturday night is just brilliant! Genuinely brilliant!"

Among the local organisations that have supported the Night Shelter at the Manchester Universities' Catholic Chaplaincy this winter has been Manchester United Football Club, which donated three bags of men’s clothes.

To find out more about this initiative or to make a donation, please contact Hinna.