National homelessness charity, Bethany Christian Trust, is encouraging festive shoppers to buy a bed for people who are homeless this Christmas by purchasing a voucher for their Edinburgh based Care Shelter. 

The gift vouchers, which cost £21 each, are now available to purchase online until 17 January 2020 and will provide a person, who is sleeping rough on the streets, overnight shelter, access to a hot meal and breakfast the following morning, safety from the elements, professional support, and multi-disciplinary services at Bethany’s Care Shelter.

Started in 1996, Bethany’s Care Shelter has been providing shelter and sleeping facilities to men and women who are homeless in Edinburgh. Started in Edinburgh as a 2-week pilot over Christmas, the Care Shelter has grown to span 32 weeks in response to need and is now a lifeline for hundreds of homeless people who would otherwise be forced to sleep outside during the cold winter months.

The service is run by a small team of staff and relies on around 1,000 volunteers from churches across the Lothians. They provide church venues for people on the streets to sleep in on a nightly rota basis as well as preparing and serving a hot meal. The Care Shelter is funded by the voluntary donations of trusts and foundations, individuals, local churches, companies and communities, as well as receiving support from Bethany’s Caring Christmas Trees project.

Commenting on the Care Shelter Christmas Gift, Alasdair Bennett, Chief Executive at Bethany Christian Trust said: “In the season of giving, think about giving a gift that will truly make a difference. Giving someone the opportunity to escape the cold and receive a hot meal can make all the difference. Your donation would provide our team with the means to help those most in need find a warm and loving place to spend Christmas this year. When thinking of how you can make a difference this year, please think of Bethany.”