AN overnight shelter for the homeless will be open for the whole of December thanks to government funding.

Reading charity, New Beginnings Reading, will open up their All Night Cafe Shelter, currently open on Fridays and Saturdays, for the entire month of December.

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The service will offer a hot meal, safe place to sleep and breakfast for the homeless in Reading at the alcohol free pub, the Queens Arms.

The move to open the shelter throughout December comes following a £13,000 donation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The MHCLG is providing up to £1 million of the Cold Weather Fund to Homeless Link who then administer funding to charitable organisations.

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Chairperson and founder of New Beginnings Reading, Grace Gomez, explained it is "a dream come true" to have received the funding.

She said: "I cried tears of joy for hours."

The charity will provide a three course meal with gifts and entertainment on Christmas Day.

Ms Gomez continued: "I am so happy to know that we can open on Christmas day, serve a wonderful Christmas dinner to our guests then they can go to sleep very full, warm, safe and dry.

"Christmas can be a very tough time of year for people who are homeless.

"I cannot imagine wandering the streets on Christmas day or sleeping in a tent."

New Beginnings Reading aims to prevent or relieve poverty or financial hardship of people in Reading who are in need.

These people's needs could be due to social or economic reasons, regardless of their religion or belief.

The charity aims to provide warmth, food and other essential items, temporary short to midterm and overnight accommodation to people.

They also assist individuals to access other long term services designed to help them become self sufficient.

The shelter will be open from 8pm until 8.30am, seven days a week in December.

The charity is looking for volunteers to work from 7.30pm until 10pm.

People can cover a day or two with colleagues, as a group of friends, as a church or community association.

Eight people are needed per shift each evening.

If you're interested get in touch by emailing or text 'VOLUNTEER' with your name and email to 07421 998208.