THE town's winter homeless shelter is opening its doors next week as the cold continues to close in.

In 2015 the Bracknell Night Shelter opened for the first time in response to a sharp increase in the number of people sleeping on the streets.

Each night from December 2 to March 30 a different church plays host, providing a sleeping bag, food and, perhaps most importantly, warmth.

Last year 47 people aged 19 to 60 visited a shelter which have around a 15 bed capacity.

Elaine Chalmers-Brown, director of Pilgrims Heart which runs the shelters, said: "Homelessness has gone up, it has doubled in the area.

"There was a need. People were sleeping in tents and in cars, in garages. Also in containers.

"They arrive for seven, have a meal and then go to bed for 10pm. Then another team comes on at 10pm. We have a night manager who comes and is awake all night."

Those wanting to attend the shelter need to have a referral from the town council, CAB, New Hope, Kerith Community Church or Pilgrims Heart.

The shelter runs on Sunday nights at St Joseph’s in Bracknell, Monday nights at the Holy Trinity in Bracknell, Tuesday nights at St Mark’s in Binfield, Wednesday nights at the Easthampstead Baptist Church, Thursday nights at Newbold College in Binfield, Friday nights at St Michael’s and Saturday nights at the Methodist Church in Priestwood.

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