Business as usual for Hornsey Moravian Church’s homeless shelter just weeks after a fire

Firefighters tackle a blaze at Hornsey Moravian Church in Priory Road. Picture: LFB

Firefighters tackle a blaze at Hornsey Moravian Church in Priory Road. Picture: LFB - Credit: Archant

Less than a month after a “fireball” ripped through a Hornsey church, its minister and a number of volunteers successfully opened its night shelter for the homeless.

Hornsey Moravian Church saw structural damage inflicted when its Christmas tree went up in flames on Boxing Day, but thankfully the church hall which plays host to the night shelter was unharmed by the fire.

Minister, the Rev'd James Woolford, told this newspaper: "We are fortunate enough that the hall wasn't damaged, and our shelter is going ahead as usual."

Each year the church works in partnership with local charity All People All Places to run a night shelter once a week for local homeless people who need somewhere safe to stay for the night. On other evenings, the charity runs shelters at other community venues across Haringey.

James said: "The guests arrive early evening. When the arrive there are some drinks and snacks out, and then they get a three-course meal with as much fruit and veg as we can get them. We are always welcoming of donations of especially practical things, like toiletries, old items of clothing, and that sort of thing."

After the first weekend of the year, James added: "It went really well, we had around ten guests which was a really good start for the first night."

On Boxing Day, the fire which damaged the front of the church in Priory Road was caused when fairy lights overheated and incinerated the church's Christmas tree, creating a fireball which soon spread to the roof of the building.

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Assessment work is still ongoing between the church and its insurers to plan the refurbishment.

All People All Places run night shelters across north London, including in the old Cranwood care home in Muswell Hill, which opened in the run-up to Christmas.

Conor Cregan, who was managing that shelter, told this newspaper the organisation was crowdsourcing much-needed items to keep that shelter running smoothly, too.

It is based at 100 Woodside Avenue in a building which has been earmarked for council housing but where redevelopment has yet to commence.

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