23 December 2014
Homeless at Christmas
Ed Miliband has visited Alliance member Church Army’s Marylebone Project for homeless women in London. He delivered a Christmas hamper and met with clients and staff.
During his visit, the Labour party leader was given a tour of the project, which includes residential accommodation for 111 women, a specialist mental health unit, a day centre and a social enterprise.
Mr Miliband also spent time with the project’s clients who shared their experiences of homelessness with him.
Homelessness in Britain often comes under focus at Christmas. Christians all over the country are again turning churches into winter shelters and giving up their time to serve those in need over the festive period. Mr Miliband said: “It has been a great opportunity for me to visit The Marylebone Project. I have been deeply moved by hearing the stories of staff and residents and learning about the struggles many of them face day by day. I will carry this experience with me and will not forget what I have heard here. Thank you for all you are doing."
Sanaa, a client at the project who met with Mr Miliband, said: “I have enjoyed meeting Ed Miliband. I am glad he visited us and that he took time to listen to our stories and understand the issues. I hope things can be better in the future.”
Last year The Marylebone Project provided 40,515 bed nights to homeless women and helped 84 of its clients back into independent living. Its work is centred on the themes of spirituality, hospitality, empowerment and resettlement.
Church Army chief executive, Mark Russell, said: “Many of the women we support at The Marylebone Project are the most vulnerable in our society and have come from backgrounds of domestic violence, abuse, trafficking and mental health difficulties. Therefore, having Mr Miliband visit today will have meant the world to these women, as it sends a clear message to them that they are valued and not forgotten. It has also been a real boost to the staff who work tirelessly and sacrificially throughout the year.”
This year, Church Army’s Christmas Angel Appeal features Barbara from The Marylebone Project.