Precautionary Coronavirus Closure

The trustees of Wellingborough Homeless Forum have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to close the night shelter, with the last night being Tuesday night of 24th March 2020 with doors closing on Wednesday morning. We have taken this decision as, firstly the building is not set up for isolation and containment of the virus, despite increased cleaning and hygiene procedures. Secondly as a voluntary organization we cannot guarantee that those who volunteer, and guests, who are themselves in the vulnerable category, will not become ill from the virus.

Although the building has served the homeless community well over the last 5 months, is not suitable for 24/7 accommodation which is what is required for social isolation to be effective.

The trustees have been working with the Borough Council of Wellingborough through the Rough Sleeping Initiative, and several street sleepers have been housed during the last few months. Recently temporary accommodation has been found for four rough sleepers and we will continue to work with the council officers so that, in time, all our guests are given a room during this crisis.

The Homeless Forum volunteers are keen to continue supporting those who are homeless in the coming months and we are investigating ways in which we can work with other voluntary organizations to provide food, telephone calls and signposting.

Further advice will be shared shortly, explaining how the shelter will be cleared, the food used and possible ways in which we can still help those we have got to know over the last 5 months.

Donations

As we approach Christmas, public generosity reaches new highs as we recognise our own family situation and those less fortunate than ourselves.

We have been overwhelmed by the number of shoebox care packages that have been donated so far this Christmas and whilst we thank everyone for their gifts, we have no further need at this time as we have sufficient to last quite some time beyond Christmas.

The Wellingborough Homeless Forum would like to give a special shout out to Thomas Luckins who organised a raffle to win an iPhone and used all the proceeds to buy a van load of sleeping bags and warm beanie hats, scarves and gloves. Those will be distributed via the Wellingborough night shelter to those in need .. Thanks Thomas.

Our primary aims are to provide a safe, warm hospitable space to eat a nourishing evening meal and breakfast, to sleep and to socialise. Our guests do appreciate what we offer.

Whilst all gifts received come from the heart, there are some gifts that are valued more than others down to need at any given time.

If you would like to make a donation to the night shelter, please email shelter@whfvolunteers.org.uk to get current information about areas where donations would be helpful to our aims.

Expanding Meal Provision

We are delighted at the response within the Wellingborough community to ensure that no-one need go hungry and invitations are pouring in to join for a meal from various providers : Streetmeals, Hemmingwell Hearts, Teen Challenge, Community Church etc. Apologies to anyone overlooked here.

We welcome news of additional support from the New Testament Church of God who are opening their doors on Sunday 15th December to host a Community Meal between 2pm and 4pm.

The event will be held at the Afro-Caribbean centre in Rock Street.

If you are operating an ‘open doors’, ‘everybody welcome’ event, please contact admin@whfvolunteers.org.uk and we will be delighted to advertise your event.

Volunteer Investment

We are now into our 4th week of the winter 2019-20 season. Approximately 30 guests are now registered to attend the Night Shelter.

Wellingborough Homeless Forum has invested heavily into the fabric of the building as well as training and DBS validation of many volunteers. Sadly whilst we have approximately 50 volunteers overall, we are still having some issues filling all shifts. We are relying upon a core of all the volunteer list to fill the majority of the shifts. That is not sustainable and sadly in week 4 we shall only open six nights out of seven.

We are making an appeal to all registered volunteers to consider whether you may be able to commit to a greater involvement in return for the investment that the Forum has made in you. With all volunteers playing an equitable part in running the night shelter, we hope to avoid burn out or drop out from some of our busier volunteers.

From 2018-19 operating in a roving night shelter, we now have a permanent location .. THE Wellingborough Night Shelter, now open six nights a week (subject to volunteer availability). With your help, we can open 7 nights; therefore, if you feel that you can offer an extra shift here or there, please email admin@whfvolunteers.org.uk and Amanda will look to organise your extra shift(s).

If you haven’t already volunteered to take some shifts at the Night Shelter, then please consider whether you could give up some of your time. You can register your interest here.

Wellingborough SWEP

Wellingborough Homeless Forum would like to make people aware about SWEP. Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is a standing policy available on the Wellingborough Borough Council website – download here

Wellingborough Borough Council will only invoke its own Severe Weather Emergency Protocol when temperatures are forecast to consistently fall to freezing. In essence, temperatures must be forecast to be 0 degrees or below on three or more consecutive nights.

When that happens, the Council will provide suitable accommodation during the SWEP period. This help will be provided even when help might otherwise be refused.

Wellingborough Homeless Forum does not judge people based upon their past life, mistakes or misfortunes. Nor do we think it acceptable to live on the streets most of winter, just because the temperature is hovering above freezing by the tiniest amount.

If you are homeless in Wellingborough, don’t wait for SWEP to provide a bed for the night. The homeless can stay in the Wellingborough Night Shelter each and every night that we are open during winter. Unlike SWEP, the Wellingborough Homeless Forum will also provide you with a hot meal and breakfast.

All you have to do is register in advance and you can have a bed through 31st March 2020.

First Aid Training

Wellingborough Homeless Forum (WHF) are keen to train up our volunteers so that they feel confident and knowledgeable in the event of fire and accident and in a position to keep themselves and our guests safe and supported.

We would therefore now like to offer basic First Aid training on Saturday 30th November at 10am in the Daylight Centre, High Street, Wellingborough.

This training will be led by a First Responder from the Red Cross and will last approximately 1.5 hours. Please email admin@whfvolunteers.org.uk to confirm your place, although we will aim to accommodate people who turn up on the day.

Night Shelter Update

We have now entered our third week of accommodating guests during the 2019-20 winter season. It feels an appropriate point to stop and reflect upon the many things that have happened since the roving shelters closed their doors for the 2018-19 winter night shelter provision.

A new building

The biggest change for winter 2019-20 has been the generous offer by The Wellingborough School to make the ‘Embankment Golf Club’ available as a fixed 7 nights per week night shelter for the homeless. During the summer months, staff of The Wellingborough School and volunteers have transformed the building into a warm and safe environment to provide Wellingborough with a homeless shelter and keep people off of the streets at the coldest points of the year.

A new charitable status – Behind the scenes, Wellingborough Homeless Forum has applied for and been granted charitable status which offers potentially greater opportunities to access grants and funding to keep the doors open and our guests well looked after.

Whilst that means that the Wellingborough Homeless Forum has greater autonomy, we continue to work very closely with our colleagues in The Daylight Centre, Teen Challenge, The Victoria Centre and various other organisations that offer support to the homeless in a multitude of ways.

New volunteers and Training – whilst we welcomed back much of our cohort of volunteers from last year, we aspire to move from 5 nights/week last winter to operating 7 nights a week and we continue to seek new volunteers to cover all shift rotas.

Volunteers old and new have received training around the building facilities and guest checkin processes, supplemented by additional Fire Warden training and Conflict Resolution training.

First Guests – From 1st night on 1st November, with a single guest, we can see the demand rising and have now been looking after 6 guests of an evening. Homelessness becomes especially hard to bear when the temperature drops and demand for the night shelter beds is expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Our guests have been very grateful for the facilities, the food and the warm hospitality offered to them. Guests and volunteers alike are delighted that we have at least matched last years 5 nights open each week, but remain disappointed that we haven’t quite made it to full 7 days per week night shelter operation just yet.

If you think you could help in some way, please send us your details and we shall make contact with you just as soon as we can.

2020 Calendars for sale

Bo and Wendy have supported the Wellingborough Homeless Forum since the beginning.

Wendy has produced a 2020 Calendar entitled ‘Bo & Friends’ which are available for sale from The Daylight Shop in Cambridge Street, Wellingborough.

For those who cannot get to the shop, more information and an opportunity to buy online is available via this website by following the link below.

Bo & Friends Calendar

First Guests accommodated

The first guests have been enjoying the facilities of the newly opened Wellingborough Night Shelter.

We offer a warm welcome, a safe warm environment where guests can enjoy a meal, a bed and breakfast and great friendship.

Touchingly but tinged with sadness, our first guests have referred to the Night Shelter as their new ‘home’.

Being homeless in Wellingborough during the cold winter nights doesn’t need to mean a night on the streets. We will welcome all guests who have registered in advance [details here] and you don’t have to book each night in advance.

Check the calendar each day to see whether we are open that night. If you have registered and want to stay that night, just pop down between 8.00 and 9.00pm.

Provided that we aren’t full, guests can be sure of a warm welcome and some hot food with not a penny charged for the night.

Wellingborough Night Shelter opens 1st November

Volunteers are gearing up to provide food and accommodation for guests starting this Friday 1st November.

It is always a difficult start to the season to ensure that sufficient volunteers have been encouraged to sign up and offer their time, complete DBS checks and be trained ahead of the first night.

Thank You!! to everyone volunteering; especially those who are fitting in night shifts alongside a day job.

The first week rota has been crunched and it is disappointing not to be able to open every night in the first week. However, we should celebrate the fact that we can open most nights as shown in the website calendar and below.