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Source : 27/06/2002 Coventry Evening Telegraph

A new drop-in centre for the homeless and poorly-housed was officially opened in Coventry this week.

The Jesus Centre, in Lamb Street, gives people somewhere they can call in every morning for bacon and eggs in a social club atmosphere.

But religion is definitely not on the menu unless specifically requested, insists the centre co-ordinator.

She charges 50p for a full fry-up, including tea and all the toast you can eat. And like a man who has no gas at his Hillfields flat, has been regularly calling twice a week even before the centre in Lamb Street officially opened.

This week the 69-year-old Irishman enjoyed his first game of chess in 40 years.

Afterwards he said: 'I didn't win but I'll get better. This is a great place - all the workers are really friendly and there is no discrimination at all.'

'I have slept rough in the past but these days I'm all right except that I've no gas in my flat so I can't get a hot meal.'

Another man, aged 37, relishes a break from life on the street.

The man, who has no fixed home, said: 'I have friends who will put me up for a night but being out on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week gets you down.'

Another man, aged 34, of Whoberley, uses the centre to seek advice about his debt problems. He said: 'I've been coming here for just under a week now and the environment is warm and welcoming. There's a great social atmosphere and everyone's very easy to chat with.'

The Jesus Centre has eight volunteers and two paid staff and opens six mornings a week. If it continues to be popular, it will expand to open six afternoons with art and craft workshops, IT training and, where necessary, basic literacy skills.