More than 100 volunteers who help rough sleepers at cold weather homelessness shelters were thanked at a special event yesterday run by Crystal Palace FC and Croydon Council.
Every autumn and winter organisations across the borough, from Croydon faith groups to national charities, provide support for people presenting as homeless. This includes Croydon Churches Floating Shelters, whose volunteers provide shelters across the borough.
At Thursday’s event at the football club’s Selhurst Park stadium, volunteers were given afternoon tea and the chance to tour the ground. A tribute was paid to long-term volunteer John Broom, who for over 20 years has co-ordinated the Croydon churches’ winter shelters and a network of around 1,000 volunteers. He received a glass plaque, champagne and home match tickets with Palace legend Mark Bright as a thank-you.
Last winter, Croydon Council’s Gateway service launched an innovative joint initiative with Crystal Palace FC to offer an emergency shelter at the stadium for rough sleepers on nights when the temperature was forecast to hit freezing.
“These volunteers put in an heroic effort day in and day out to support vulnerable rough sleepers, so this event was a chance for the council and its partners to recognise the often unsung work they do. “These volunteers provide not just shelter for the night but friendship and compassion for those who need it most, and I look forward to continuing to work with them for many years to come.
“I want to especially thank the club for putting on this event, the neighbouring Sainsbury’s store for donating the food, and to council staff who play an invaluable role working with the community to tackle homelessness.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services
Crystal Palace CEO Phil Alexander said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome the volunteers to Selhurst Park Stadium. We are committed to using the club’s position within the community to support important projects. We hope to work with Croydon Council and Sainsbury’s Crystal Palace on future community initiatives.”