​The pod in search of a church car park

12th February 2020

It may be just 8ft by 6ft – with bed, toilet and USB socket – but for a homeless person it’s a potential life saver. The Amazing Grace Spaces pod – officially an urban emergency sleeping hut – has a coded lock to protect the person inside.

And now the man behind the project, Stuart Johnson, is bringing one to CRE for the first time, keen to find churches prepared to donate a car parking space on which to locate one of his creations.

‘I cannot believe no one has come up with this solution before,’ said Stuart who is delighted two churches have already ordered pods. ‘They are not the final answer, but while someone is waiting for permanent accommodation, they know they are safe from bullying or injury or losing the few possessions they may have. They also give members of a church the opportunity to minister to them in a loving and caring manner.’

Amazing Grace Spaces, based in Llanwern, Newport in South Wales, can also provide help with more permanent accommodation.

‘We want a world where the homeless are not sleeping rough on the street,’ said Stuart, who will celebrate his 60th birthday during CRE Midlands. ‘Any person faced with homelessness gets a safe place to sleep, as well as the support they need to avoid becoming homeless again. Our mission is to develop and provide innovative, sustainable and affordable accommodation and emergency shelter. We partner with other services to ensure homeless people have access to support and a safe space to recover.’

By Dave Hall