WINCHESTER Churches Nightshelter, the homelessness charity welcomed a record number of people to their Open Day.

Around 140 people dropped in for a rare glimpse behind the scenes of the shelter on Jewry Street, and to learn more about its work with those experiencing homelessness.

Staff, residents and volunteers conducted tours and served tea and home-made cakes, baked during Nightshelter cookery workshops last Saturday.

Michele Price, Nightshelter manager, said: “Our Open Day is a unique opportunity for members of the public to see first-hand what we do, and for us to bust some myths associated with nightshelters. What can often come to mind when someone thinks “homeless shelter” is somewhere cold, transient and inhospitable – when in reality the Nightshelter is safe, comfortable and more like a home to our 17 residents, who can sometimes stay with us for many months.”

She added: “We open our doors to give those who aren’t familiar with our work the chance to come and learn more about what life here is really like. We want to challenge negative perceptions of homelessness and let people see for themselves how we help transform lives for the better. We're delighted that so many people took an interest, and were particularly pleased to welcome lots of families with young children this year. We hope that they will walk away with a greater understanding and more positive view of nightshelters in general.”

Winchester Churches Nightshelter is a 17-bed Nightshelter that opens 365 days a year offering an essential lifeline and first port of call for those in crisis.