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The Foundation and work of the Julian Trust

The Foundation and work of the Julian Trust
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you made me welcome,
lacking clothes and you clothed me,
sick and you visited me,
in prison and you came to see me.”
Then the upright will say to him in reply,
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger
and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you?
Matthew Chapter 25 v 35- 38. New Jerusalem Bible Translation

The Julian Trust


It all began with six of us sitting around a kitchen table, talking. We had all been active volunteers with the Cyrenians and now wished to move on. We had ideas for one or two projects. The need for a night shelter in Bristol had long been paramount and so that is what we decided to do.

With the help of a few miracles, we acquired the use of the old school kitchen and dining room at St Nicholas of Tolentino, with gifts of bed and bedding etc. After a short time of tidying up and setting up we were ready to open.

The night shelter opened its doors on 28th September 1986. To begin with we could only open two nights a week, three of us on duty one night and three on the other. Gradually, the word got around and more volunteers joined us. Soon we were able to open on four nights. In some cases, church groups would take over a night, organizing rota, food, etc. Themselves, this was a great help.

We had room for fifteen beds, but we provided an evening meal for many more guests. Then at ‘bedtime’, only those who had a bed could stay. And so we grew! By the end of our first year we were a registered charity with a management committee and sub groups. T o look after rotas, fund –raising and a cleaning team.

The accommodation at St Nick’s was great. The beds were in the dining room and in the big kitchen we had enough room to cook and arrange a sleeping area for volunteers. We were full every night and it became obvious that we would soon need larger premises. At this time too, our building was needed by another organization and we were offered the use of Becket Hall by St Thomas’s Church. We were there for a while and eventually the move was made to the night shelter’s more appropriate present home.

At this point, I decided that night duty did not agree with my advancing years and I quietly bowed out!

I look back with some pride at those small beginnings and see how the night shelter project has grown. And the name? The lady who was the prime mover among us had a great regard for Julian of Norwich and it seems that she ( Julian) is still looking after it!

Cathy Butler

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