Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the stay-at-home policy, the Nightshelter will now adapt its service so residents can stay inside all day and night in line with government guidelines.
Michèle Price, Chief Executive of the Nightshelter explains: “For over thirty years we have been a safe and welcoming place for people experiencing homelessness to stay and access support. The current circumstances mean we now need to adapt our provision to keep our residents and others safe. We are committed to expanding our service during these challenging times to ensure our residents can follow government guidelines and stay at their temporary home 24 hours a day.”
Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK, Winchester Churches Nightshelter has been working closely with Winchester City Council and other local homeless agencies to develop strategies to ensure that it can continue to provide vital support to people experiencing homelessness during these challenging times.
Measures put in place include stringent cleaning processes, the preparation of a designated self-isolation room incase it is needed in the future, strict new staff and volunteer procedures have been communicated and put into practice and residents have been briefed about the steps they can take to limit the risk of infection. Nightshelter staff have also been reaching out to former residents by phone to check that they are coping and to give them reassurance.
How can you help?
The changes in service will have a significant impact on staffing and resources and the Nightshelter is now desperately seeking the support of current and new volunteers to help during the additional hours residents will be at the Nightshelter and also to cover the shifts usually undertaken by volunteers who fall into the vulnerable bracket.
We are appealing to people eager to do something positive during these difficult times to help vulnerable people. Perhaps you are a chef at a pub or restaurant which is currently closed and you would be willing to help cook and serve evening meals to our residents or make portioned meals for residents to reheat. Or maybe you are in a job which can’t be done from home and so you have time on your hands to help us keep on supporting this vulnerable sector of society.
Volunteer roles include Evening Cooks, Day Helper, Evening Helper, Overnighter. Details of all roles can be found here. Training will be given and volunteers will always work alongside a member of staff. Whenever possible, if volunteers wish, they will be able to use a separate small office as a place to sit to help them to maintain social distancing and just be on hand if needed.
Please note that at present the Nightshelter does NOT have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst residents.
To register your interest in volunteering please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01962 862050.
We are asking for any help people can give by way of financial donations to support this new provision for residents which will require significant additional staffing and resources.
You can donate online via the website, text NIGHTSHELTER followed by any amount up to £20 to 70085, set up a bank transfer or donate by cheque. Find out more about donating to the Nightshelter here.
Our vital work is only possible thanks to the ongoing support and generosity of our donors and funders. Thank you to the individuals, local organisations and businesses who have donated. Thank you to Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council for their support and funding as we work together to achieve their goal of ending homelessness in Winchester by 2023.