We have now run the Night Shelter on 9 Wednesday nights. So far every night things have gone quite smoothly - there haven’t been any major problems, although having to provide a hot meal for our guests without a working oven in the New Church Rooms was tricky (many thanks to Dilly for allowing us to use her kitchen).
Each night we have had around 23 to 25 people for supper, and then 9 or 10 of them go off to St John-at-Hackney to sleep, leaving us with 15 people staying overnight. We continue to have more women staying than ever before - one night, we had 8 women, although since then there have been 6 or 7 women each week. We work hard to provide a warm welcome and a peaceful atmosphere for our guests as well as a hot meal and comfortable beds.
Our professional Night Shelter workers continue to work with our guests to try and help them move on to more long-term accommodation. They say this is increasingly difficult in the current economic climate, but they have had some successes: out of 78 guests in total this winter, 24 have moved on positively, to other night shelters, hostels, council accommodation, privately rented flats, and one to a live-in job. Sadly we have had to ask 7 people to leave the shelter during this season.
We will be running the shelter for 5 more Wednesday nights before we close at the end of March. We still have gaps on our volunteer rota for people to help overnight or on Thursday mornings. Donations of new socks or underwear are always appreciated by our guests.
Many thanks to all who have helped to run the shelter so far this winter.