Birmingham Catholic primary school to open as Christmas homeless shelter

A Birmingham primary school is preparing to throw open its doors as a homeless shelter over Christmas.

St Catherine of Siena school has partnered with Birmingham Christmas Shelter, external to offer accommodation between Christmas Eve and 28th December.

Teacher Kerris Caley said pupils at the Catholic primary school on Great Colmore Street had been playing their part by collecting treats for the people staying there.

“We have an empty building. It’s warm and it becomes a place of sanctuary and it also fitted very much with our school’s values – sort of love thy neighbour and support and help others,” she added.

Miss Caley said: “We had a theme of ‘how will you let your light shine?’ and we’ve asked the children to bring in chocolate biscuits and crisps.”

Two other schools in Rednal and West Heath have also joined in the collection effort.

This is the second year the school has provided a venue for the shelter – it said 186 people benefitted from the facility last winter.

Seven-year-old pupil Noah said he wanted to help rough sleepers “so they don’t get cold and so they get food and like drinks and don’t get hungry and thirsty”.

Michelle, eight, said: “I feel very joyful because I get to be part of something.”

Birmingham Christmas Shelter has raised funds and recruited volunteers for nearly 50 years to provide a place for homeless and other vulnerable people to eat, sleep and enjoy Christmas.

It says it aims to provide a “free safe place to sleep out of the cold, entertainment, showers, and as much food and treats as possible to build them up to withstand the cold weeks ahead”.


Story courtesy BBC West Midlands