09:16AM, Friday 29 July 2016
A plea for more volunteers has been made by a homeless charity as it hopes to extend its opening hours and support more vulnerable people in the town.
The Windsor Homeless Project (TWHP) has about 60 volunteers. It currently opens for two hours a day on Mondays and Tuesdays at Windsor Baptist Church in Victoria Street, and for two hours on Saturdays at St Stephen’s Church in Vansittart Road.
The charity also wants to open on a Friday morning from September after a homeless man was found dead outside Holy Trinity Church but needs more volunteers to be able to do this.
Manager Murphy James, who joined in March, said the man ‘died from lack of care’.
He is one of three paid members of staff at the charity which otherwise relies on volunteers and is solely supported by its own fundraising.
Since taking on the role, the 33-year-old musician has transformed the way the charity works using his own experiences.
“I am four years clean off drink and drugs now, so I know what it is like to be in that situation,” he said.
“There is a lot of ongoing work with other people to get them through what they are going through.”
Before he joined, the charity mainly provided food, laundry and a place to go for company a few times a week.
While keeping hold of these core services, it is now linked with drug, housing, employment and mental health support services.
“In four months we have housed five, got four off heroin and got one into employment,” added Murphy.
“With the homeless community and with addicts it is about gaining their trust. They have spent a lot of their lives not being able to trust people.
“We are like a family for them.”
On an average morning, TWHP sees between five to 20 people come through its doors when open.
As well as looking for new volunteers, Murphy is calling on all Windsor businesses to take part in Community Project Week starting on September 26 to raise money for the project.
He is hoping the new initiative will be an annual event hopefully raising enough money for the year.
Visit www.windsorhomelessproject.org to sign up as a volunteer.
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.