For anyone living locally you should have received a copy of the new Reading Borough Council Newsletter called “Your Reading” . If you are also a supporter of, or volunteer with, or simply very interested in “A Bed for the Night“, you may have been a little confused when reading page 14 which describes how RBC are tackling rough sleeping.
The explanation is fairly simple. The services described are the “statutory response”, which does not include local charities or voluntary bodies unless they are “commissioned” by the council, that is to say funded to one degree or another by RBC to fulfil a role or purpose. To have included us by name might have been seen to imply that they fund us.
We are referred to in the second column under “we work in partnership with other statutory agencies, local charities, faith groups and community organisations that can provide food, support and accommodation“. So that actually covers our ReadiStreet “soup runs”, our ReadiFood food bank, as well as B4N.
FAITH Christian Group are delighted to be able to facilitate the Church in Reading to provide emergency accommodation through our Night Shelter during January, February and March. During the harsh winter months the numbers of rough sleepers are simply too many to be accommodated through the “pathway” which the Council provide. St Mungo’s refer directly into us and that partnership is vital in preventing potential deaths.
We would like to acknowledge that although not directly funded by them, officers of Reading Borough Council have supported us in obtaining funding from Central Government. Without government funding we could not run the shelter and give the degree of support that we now can to those guests coming to us.