Chester Cathedral will open its doors to homeless people from Wednesday (January 25) with the provision of a weekly soup kitchen.
The initiative – developed in conjunction with Chester Share Shop and the Diocese of Chester – will run on Wednesdays from 10am-4pm until March.
This drop-in project is intended to provide a warm and safe place for rough sleepers in the city. Visitors will be offered tea and coffee plus soup and a bread roll for lunch.
It is anticipated that a range of agencies that work with homeless people – such as Foundation Enterprises North West, Chester Aid to the Homeless, Cheshire West and Chester Council and police officers – will attend to offer help, advice and support to drop-in guests if they need it.
Chester Cathedral Constable Chris Jones said: “We are very pleased to be able to open a soup kitchen at the cathedral this winter. We have been very keen to provide something for the city’s homeless people for a long time and are excited to be able to put our ideas into action. We hope it will make a difference.”
Canon Precentor at Chester Cathedral Jeremy Dussek said: “Here at Chester Cathedral we are dedicated to offering everyone who comes through our doors a warm welcome. We are committed to providing hospitality and support where it is needed. We hope the soup kitchen will go some way to helping people in need across the city this winter.”
There has been concern from Chester Share Shop about the lack of daytime activities for homeless people in the city.
And the Labour -controlled council accepts it is a problem that it does not commission daytime services, which ‘often leaves homeless individuals without meaningful activities or support’.
Provision of daytime support is seen as a priority although no immediate action is promised.