Don’t ignore town’s homeless problems

The open evening of The Mustard Seed group was held in St Peter's Church, Fleetwood. Back, from left, Kris Berry, Beckii Pilkington, Di Graveston, Ryan Faulkener, John Sorensen and  Fred Riley. Front, from left, Angela Hammill, Matthew Branson (Director), Tracey Kempster and Ken Backhouse.
The open evening of The Mustard Seed group was held in St Peter's Church, Fleetwood. Back, from left, Kris Berry, Beckii Pilkington, Di Graveston, Ryan Faulkener, John Sorensen and Fred Riley. Front, from left, Angela Hammill, Matthew Branson (Director), Tracey Kempster and Ken Backhouse.

FLEETWOOD’S homeless problem may be an invisible one but it is still there.

That’s the message from the director of a group which has been running a soup kitchen in the town since February.

Matthew Branson, of the Mustard Seed Group, says it is not obviously apparent that there are homeless people in Fleetwood.

But he says over the past eight months the group has been running, it has become clear there are people in the town who desperately need help.

Mr Branson was speaking after holding an open night on Monday this week to highlight the work being done by the Mustard Seed Group in Fleetwood.

Soup kitchen sessions are held at St Peter’s Church every Monday night, but he says the work is on-going seven days a week.

Mr Branson, a committed Christian who lives in Fleetwood, said: “If someone is spending the time on a friend’s sofa, that person is homeless.

“There are people with issues and they do need help. The soup kitchen offers them the guaranteed chance of a wholesome meal along with friendship and support.

“Not all the people who come are homeless. Some are lonely or just need different kinds of help,

“Thankfully we have people from various agencies at our sessions who can offer all sorts of help, and we can also point some in the direction of the Mountcroft mental health team or even J2R Addaction.”

However, Mr Branson admitted one of the issues facing the Mustard Seed Group was one of funding.

He said: “We have had great support from various groups and traders. The Masons of Pharos Lodge in Fleetwood have supplied us with new uniforms.

“Benson’s Butchers have supplied us with meat for our hotpot. There are so many to thank.”

Mr Branson said the group was hoping to raise £2,000; although food was often donated, the group still needed to buy provisions and needed enough funds to keep running for another year.

He added: “We had a great open night, with singing and African drumming, and the soup kitchen fed 50 people on the night.”

The Mustard Seed Group meets at the Lord Street church each Monday from 6.30pm to 9pm.