A SCHEME that sees Caerphilly council work with local churches and volunteers to support rough sleepers is looking to be extended later this year.

The Caerphilly Churches Night Shelter scheme was piloted at three churches in January 2013 to try and reduce rough sleeping in the county borough and provide those in need with shelter for the evening.

Such was the positive impact of the scheme that it returned in January 2014 with an extended programme, with a total of seven churches in Blackwood and Caerphilly each covering one night each, meaning there was a night shelter available for every night of the week.

During the time the scheme was operational between the beginning of January and the end of March this year, the scheme provided a total of 330 bed spaces, accommodating 17 rough sleepers.

Caerphilly council is now looking for additional churches and volunteers to become involved in the project, so that support can be provided to those who need it for an additional two months this winter.

An open evening is being held on Wednesday, July 23, at the Oasis Christian Centre in Cefn Fforest at 7pm to discuss the scheme.

Representatives from local churches and those residents who would like to volunteer to help are encouraged to go along to find out more.

Church coordinator, Reverend Sue Phillips said: “Ideally we would like the project to commence in November this year rather than January, so it would provide shelter and safety for this most vulnerable sector for an additional two months. We had seven churches committed to the night shelter scheme earlier this year, but would welcome additional churches and volunteers to be part of this successful project”.

Councillor Gerald Jones, deputy leader of the council and the council’s poverty champion added: “It has been wonderful to see local churches, volunteers, community members and the council working together. I would encourage anyone who feels they may be able to support the expansion of the Night Shelters project this winter to get in touch”.

For further details on the Caerphilly Churches Night Shelter scheme, call David Francis at Caerphilly council on 01443 873 549 or Reverend Sue Phillips on 07817 238608.