Today we visited Sanctus Homeless Charity, a local support hub for people living in Chelmsford and the surrounding areas.
It has been a particularly challenging time in the local community this year, so we decided to support Sanctus as one of our designated charities because of the great work they have been delivering to people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanctus has not only supported the existing homeless in our society but also other vulnerable people who have been victims of domestic violence, family break ups, addiction or have recently left the army or prison. They have provided free cooked meals for an average of 50 people a day, sometimes reaching as much as 99.
Below is Penny Ellis and Marina Fowler from LMAC Group and Emma Setchell and Dave from Sanctus.
Whilst at Sanctus we met Emma Setchell, who co-ordinates volunteers and also cooks the hot meals. She was working with Dave today, an ex-homeless person who was helped by Sanctus to integrate back into society. Dave originally volunteered and is now employed by the charity. Having someone like Dave means Sanctus can empathise and really understand the needs of other people who have found themselves on the street.
Emma said ‘ We are really grateful to LMAC for the donation of tents, sleeping bags, back packs and clothing to keep people in need dry and warm, which is hard for them at this time of year with the wet weather’.
I asked Emma more about other services Sanctus provide. She said ‘We work with everyone who may be in need. Our doors are open 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. We work with Chess, the local homeless shelter, and Genesis to find people somewhere to stay that is dry and warm. For most homeless people we are the only other place they can go to get out of the cold. However, due to restrictions we can only provide takeaway meals at the moment so receiving this equipment gives people somewhere to shelter. We also work with local food banks and share supplies if needed which supports the wider audience. One of the items we really need is fresh meat. Although dried food is essential, we need meat to be able cook a fulfilling meal. Sanctus assist people to be re-housed and provide access to free counselling, advice and training’.
The charity is looking to expand and are currently in discussion to take over the property next door.
If you would like to help Sanctus, you can donate via their website at https://sanctus-home.com or support their Christmas appeal through Just Giving at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/SanctusChristmasNewYearAppeal