A STREET pastor is aiming to raise much-needed funds to help those affected by the closure of Stratford’s homeless drop-in centre.
Barry Juckes has been volunteering as a pastor, along with wife Ros, for six years. Street pastors are trained volunteers who patrol the streets on busy weekend nights to keep an eye out for anyone in distress or simply to lend an ear to those in need.
And the 67-year-old, who is also chairman of charity organisation Choir Tarantara, is organising a concert to raise money for the United Reform Church in Rother Street which provides food to the town’s vulnerable and homeless community at weekends.
The Link Project which offers food, clothes, housing advice, as well as social interaction, was closed over two months ago after an unspecified incident prompted safety concerns.
And dad-of-two Barry is hoping the fund-raiser will help make a difference to those in need of support.
He said: “It’s clear, from the conversations we have with those on the streets, they miss going to the Link where they can meet other people and engage with one another as well as being involved in things like music groups which are all part of giving them a sense of purpose and worth.
“Although we are coming out of the bad weather now, they can go there on a wet day, to dry out and get some support and get advice which has all been lost.
“Their refuge doesn’t exist anymore. They are on their own.
“I’m a very gregarious person so I can’t imagine a life where I don’t have a place to meet and talk to people.
“Before it was good to be able to signpost people who might have come from Birmingham or somewhere to it to allow them some respite and now there’s nowhere we can send them.
“We know how vital money is to help provide meals and clothing etc for the homeless. Whilst some businesses in the town have been generous in donating food and the public donate clothes, an injection of cash is always a very welcome resource.”
The concert takes place on Saturday June 1 at 7.30pm at the Rother Street church.
Barry said the music would include ‘everything from musical theatre and pop hits from the past, to classic choral pieces and adventurous contemporary works’.
Tickets are £10 and include one drink. Email barryjucke[email protected] to book or call Peter Horrocks on on 01789 750971.
Visit www.tarantara.org.uk for more information.