Winter Night Shelter MK write:

It is clear that this winter is going to be a tough one for many people. We are expecting a lot of demand for our services, particularly in light of the evictions backlog, the ending of the furlough scheme and the Universal Credit uplift, the worsening crisis in availability of affordable housing, rising energy prices and the digital exclusion of many people from a number of support services that have pivoted online.

The good news is that we have been very busy behind the scenes reviewing every aspect of what we do and planning how we can best serve those who need us this winter whilst keeping safety and Covid as paramount considerations.

We hope to announce our confirmed plans very shortly (in the next couple of weeks) along with details of volunteer opportunities that will be available this winter. We are still navigating certain challenges to our plans but we wanted to share with you the different areas on which we are working:

  • A redesigned Winter Night Shelter service for rough sleepers (late November to March) shared between four venues in the city (rather than the 14 churches and community centres that usually partner with us). This is to allow for use of the larger venues (to allow for distancing between guests and/or use of multiple rooms) with reduced rotation and enhanced cleaning procedures.
  • A daily evening reception café and early morning locker access at Unity Park Station to support the overnight shelter service.
  • Continued daily welfare appointments at Unity Park Station to help people to move on and rebuild their lives.
  • Support to the Council’s planned rough sleeper provision for up to 18 people on the first floor of the building.
  • Continuation of our Community Club social sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
  • A redesigned takeaway food service (to help support the vulnerable people who come to us but don’t fall into the category of a shelter guest).
  • Continued support of The Food Bank MK service with volunteers to operate from UPS as a collection point.

We are still operating in a very uncertain environment and our ability to move forward with even the best laid plans will also depend on approval of our operations and procedures (including Covid testing) from Public Health England, decisions taken by the Council regarding the operations of their own services this winter and the availability of volunteers to enable our planned services to run.

We have a small part-time staff team behind the scenes and we can only do what we do because of the willingness of an army of volunteers willing to serve and play their part. We hope that anyone who has volunteered with us in the past will consider joining us again this winter, and if you haven’t volunteered with us before we hope you will take up an opportunity to get involved in saving and changing people’s lives.

When our volunteering opportunities are available you will be able to register via the sign-up forms on the ‘Volunteer’ page of our website. We will announce on our facebook page when they are live, so watch this space!

If you are unable to volunteer with us this winter you can still do your bit by making a kind donation to enable us to do what we do. Please visit: https://www.winternightsheltermk.org/give/

Thank you so much for your support.