Norwich winter night shelter appeals for volunteers
The Norwich Community Winter Shelter Project has been set up to provide rough sleepers with a safe, warm place to stay during the winter months. Norwich churches have provided venues but are in desperate need of more volunteers.
Community groups and third sector agencies are working in partnership with Norwich City Council to provide accommodation for rough sleepers during the winter months. Local churches have accepted the opportunity to use their premises to provide shelter in a co-ordinated approach to supporting rough sleepers in the city.
Norwich Central Baptist Church (NCBC) is providing shelter on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights and Russell Street Community Centre, run by St Thomas Church is opening on Friday and Saturday nights.
Gill Duffy, from NCBC, said, "We are dealing with a very basic need for people who are vulnerable. We would love to be able to extend the winter night shelter provision so that every night of the week is covered but there are simply not enough volunteers. I'd urge anyone who is interested to get in touch to find out more. This is a very simple way that we can support people who are in need."
There are different roles available, such as setting up, greeting people when they arrive, overnight supervision and clearing up from 7am.
A training session for volunteers is set for Thursday January 17 from 7.30 - 9pm at Norwich Central Baptist Church, Duke Street NR3 3AP.
The purpose of the Winter Shelter Project is to ensure that verified rough sleepers who have no other accommodation have a safe place to sleep. The project is set to run from through to March and is in addition to the emergency accommodation provided by Norwich City Council in extremely cold weather. The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is activated by the council when a temperature of zero degrees or lower forecast for at least three consecutive nights.
The accommodation is for verified rough sleepers who may not be eligible for housing via their local authority, or who have support needs that prevent them from accessing housing. People eligible to access a bed at the Winter Shelter Project will be identified by the Pathways team, who do regular street counts and outreach work in the city.
The idea of the Winter Shelter Project is not to provide a person with a bed all winter, but for a person to be offered a bed for the night – or a few nights - and for their support needs to be addressed with a view to moving into settled accommodation.
If you would like to volunteer for the project and/or attend the training session please contact Gill Duffy on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01603 760497