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Soho priest’s virus warning: ‘Some of our most vulnerable may go hungry’

Concern for ‘excluded and homeless’ as church scales back its food service after complaints

08 May, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Soho Square

A PARISH priest has written to residents about the importance of feeding the homeless during the coronavirus crisis after he cut back a popular project following a raft of complaints.

Father Alexander Sherbrooke of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Soho Square sent a letter to residents about his church’s food service in the square.

The church had, when the lockdown began, been asked to expand its food service normally run out of its basement to provide lunch and breakfast every day from the square itself.

But Fr Sherbrooke’s ­letter said the project was being significantly cut back because of “the anxieties expressed to me”, adding: “I have had to do this with a very heavy heart because it means that some of our most vulnerable people may go hungry.”

A lack of toilet, shower and laundry facilities were the among the main concerns, his letter said.

Father Sherbrooke added: “The nature of our client group has evolved significantly which has also increased the demands upon us. At the same time from the council, residents and the police I have heard of various concerns.

“I am in no way insensitive to this, but at the same time there is both the pressing need of the people that we are serving and then the request of the city council.”

The letter added: “Covid-19 places all of us in a unique and challenging situation and part of that is the pressing need that some of the most vulnerable, excluded and homeless people in London are asking for help.”

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