The Jubilee Memorial Garden has been created in the grounds of St John’s House to remember people experiencing homelessness who have sought help at the Night Shelter, and to be a visible witness to the value of every human person no matter what their circumstances or their past.
The Garden has been funded with the help of grants from Maxview Ltd and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Platinum Jubilee Fund. Designed to be visible from the street and entirely the work of the guests and volunteers, the planting includes two Prunus “Tai-haku” (Great White Cherry) trees, and a shrub rose chosen with the help of family or friends for each individual remembered.
Lucy McKitterick, Night Shelter Co-ordinator, said:
“At the Night Shelter we welcome as guests anyone with nowhere safe to stay, and central to our work is the understanding that each guest is an individual with needs and desires whom we encounter in hope both for their future when they leave our care and for their certain place in the love and care of God.
If you come to see the Jubilee Garden you’ll see not only a lovely planting of roses but also the accompanying plaque where we chose for the dedication the text ‘Jesus said, In my Father’s house are many rooms.’
And we can of course understand that in two ways, the heavenly home we hope for when we die but also the house at the Night Shelter where there are many rooms tonight for vulnerable people in need.
The life expectancy in the UK for people experiencing homelessness is currently around 30 years below that for the rest of the population. The reality of this appalling statistic is that here at the Night Shelter we have cared for a number of people who have since died, some of them in the very bleakest of circumstances – the youngest was just 25.
We felt that the Platinum Jubilee, when our nation reflects on seventy years of service given by our Queen, is the right time to create this new Garden to remember the vulnerable people our community has served here. If you go past the railings on Blackfriars Road this week and smell the roses, know that here is a place where people have hope – and please do look out for opportunities for volunteering with us this autumn if you’d like to be involved.”