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.