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Vicarage to be transformed into night shelter for homeless

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Planning permission has been granted to convert the old vicarage next to St John’s Church on Blackfriars Road, King’s Lynn, into a place of safe refuge for those who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

St John’s House becomes the new home of King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter (KLWNS), a project which began in 2017.

It has since supported dozens of people, including 104 who stayed last winter, and will begin welcoming the homeless to St John’s House from the end of October.

Lucy McKitterick, co-ordinator of the project, said it was the first time a vicarage in Norfolk had been used for such a purpose.

“St John’s House is a really exciting project and will be a wonderful new temporary home this winter for people who have none,” she said.

“We’re here for people who have lost everything, and what better way to show them how much they are valued than a beautiful big house. There’s also a large garden with a lot of potential to develop as a community project.

“We look forward to making sure the new shelter is here for those who need it, and that everyone who stays here will have access to the best possible support to help them find a home of their own.”

KLWNS has this year stayed open during the coronavirus crisis and discussions are ongoing with the borough council on how open safely if COVID-19 restrictions are still in place in autumn

The vicarage is significantly larger than the night shelter’s former premises at St Ann’s Fort and will eventually accommodate more guests than has previously been possible.

The Revd Becca Rogers, vicar at St John’s Church, added:

“We could not be more delighted that the vicarage is becoming St John’s House – a place of welcome, provision and home for the homeless.

“Some members of our congregation are homeless or previously homeless, and a number volunteer at the night shelter. As a church, we have a desire to be more involved, so this move feels very positive and right.”

To make a donation supporting the conversion of St John’s House into a night shelter, visit the project’s website.

This article originally appeared on the EDP website, photo courtesy of King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter.