Supporting the Nightshelter

St Leonard’s Church, Birdingbury, supporting the Rugby Winter Night Shelter

Karen Armbrister, Church Warden writes:
We are supporting St Matthews and St Oswald’s Church (known as M2O) in Rugby with their night shelter commitment on Thursday nights. Normally 6 of us attend from 6.30pm to 10.00pm, when the overnight shift takes over. One of our regular helpers, Alex writes:

‘I am pleased to be among a group of villagers representing BirdingburNightshelter bedsy at the Night Shelter in Rugby, coordinated by local charity Hope4.

Each night of the week, between December and March, a different church in Rugby hosts a night shelter for 15 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough or lodging on friends’ sofas and the like, and St Leonards has put together a team to help once a month.

Our group prepares, cooks and takes along a two-course hot meal, puts up the beds supplied by Hope 4 and enjoys some conversation with the guests using the shelter. Once everyone is fed (guests and volunteers eat together) and we have cleared up, we return home, leaving guests to sleep supported by two volunteers from the church. After a breakfast the next morning guests then leave for the day, before returning to the hope 4 Centre to register and apply for the following evening’s venue. Guests must apply in person at the Centre and be issued with a ticket to attend that evening’s venue. Anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not permitted entry. Guests can be ejected for inappropriate behaviour as well. Beds are transported between churches and the army of laundry volunteers deal with the used bedding, washing and ironing it before passing it on again. Over 300 people are involved in volunteering for the Night Shelter.

We have been privileged to meet some wonderful people, each with a unique story. It is clear that there is no ‘type’ of person that becomes homeless; it is not something that discriminates by race, nationality or gender. Meeting those affected by homelessness has taught me a great deal about how vulnerable we all are, but also about how resilient people can be, as wnightshelter dinnerell as the difference a little bit of my time can make both to me and the people we are trying to help.’

Everyone has a story – everyone – even us! Working as volunteers at the shelter has opened our eyes to how close we all are to changing circumstances which leave us much at the mercy of the kindness of others. It is a humbling experience as we leave to go home to our warm, comfortable homes and families.

Jesus taught us that we should; ‘love one another’ – helping at the Night Shelter certainly gives us the opportunity to love and to serve those who are not as blessed with comfort as we are – it’s a privilege to do it – why don’t you come along and help sometime?


St Leonards, Birdingbury at Rugby Night Shelter


Rugby Winter  Night Shelter operates between 1 December and 31 March every year, providing hot meals and overnight accommodation at 7 venues across the town, each venue operating on a set night per week. Administered by Hope 4, guests register during the afternoon for a ticket for a meal and bed that evening. Volunteers at each venue provide a hot supper, drinks, supervised overnight accommodation and breakfast. All 7 venues are run through the goodwill of hundreds of volunteers. There are people – daily- transporting camp beds, washing and ironing bed linen, organising rotas and preparing hearty suppers for approximately 15-20 guests each night.

In birdingbury we started helping in December 2015 when Church Warden Karen, with her husband and daughter, volunteered to help on Christmas Eve at St Matthews and St Oswalds, Lawford Rd – part of our own Rugby Deanery and Coventry diocese.  

Since then we have progressed to actually preparing and taking the evening meal, once in 2016 and twice this year. We now have 10 people who have volunteered and expressed interest so we hope to increase our help to three nights for the 2017-2018 programme. 

This year we attended well stocked with Rev Ali’s super squash soup, Liz’s luscious lasagne, Karen’s spicy sausage and chilli beans, Emma’s masterful mixed salad and Jenny and Leigh’s lovely crumbles. Andrew joined us as we set up beds, laid out the bed linen, laid the table for 20, prepared and served the food, poured numerous teas and coffees, cleared away and washed  up and played countless games of Uno – a favourite game with all guests! 

Well done to all those who manage and administer the programme across Rugby town- we are proud and humbled to be involved in support. See you next month and next year! 


Birdingbury Christmas Concert


Birdingbury Boys and Girls choirs came together to sing at a concert on Saturday 3 December, at St Leonards. Several choir members also performed separate numbers for the concert which included other Christmas  readings and singing.

Superb canapés and wine were served during the interval. The event was attended by over 90 people with over 20 performing. A great ‘Prelude to Christmas’

Many thanks especially to Mel and Ian Palmer, Sue and Peter Law and all those who performed, helped and supported it!


Remembrance Sunday at Birdingbury

On a dull autumn morning over 50 people gathered in Church for our annual service of Remembrance, led by Lay Reader Dr Peter Kent. We were pleased to welcome Dawn Powers, a villager who has undertaken a village fund raising project, loaning her ‘Tower of London’ ceramic poppy to other villagers for a donation  towards various charities associated with the Armed Forces. She spoke about Poppy’s journey around Birdingbury and told us she had raised the sum of £200. This has been supplemented by beautiful hand made (by villager Julie Colledge) felt lapel poppies, the sale of which has resulted in an overall total of £480 – a fantastic achievement by Dawn with support from the village. Our British Legion wreath, laid at the altar by young villager, Erin Flint, was carried to the War Memorial by a serving villager, Flight Sergeant Simon Davy, RAF, and the roll call given by army veteran Bill Cowley, one of our oldest villagers. 


Birdingbury Art Festival 2015

We were delighted whe one of our village teenagers, Jess Armbrister, asked us if she could organise an art exhibition in church over the Bank Holiday weekend. Jess is hoping to study History of Art at university, and is currently studying the subject to A level which she’ll take next year. She’d like to work , at some stage, in the art world, curating and managing galleries and exhibitions.

The end result took place this weekend with 26 exhibitors isplaying art forms including paintings in acrylic, oils and watercolours, pictures using vintage fabrics, drawings in fine pen pencil, and charcoal; embroidery, tapestry, quilting, silk painting, woodwork, glass etching andphotography. All the exhibitors live in the village and range in age from teenagers to senior citizens! Over 60 works of art were on display.

Friday evening saw 65+ guests attending a ticketed preview evening, where wine and canapés were served, and the church buzzed with conversation, laughter and gasps of admiration for the talent displayed. During the weekend around 70 entries were made in the visitors book as people came to enjoy a first, or repeat look at the work. Saturday’s weather was lovely and the churchyard made a quiet and peaceful venue to enjoy the refreshments on offer.

With thanks to Jess and the PCC’s Peter Law, who provided support and guidance, for a wonderfully creative use of our church building, and for your generous donation to church funds from the profits made.