Nottingham Winter Shelter to open for longer to cope with demand

A person sleeps rough on Nottingham's Bottle Lane © westbridgfordwire.com
A person sleeps rough on Nottingham's Bottle Lane © westbridgfordwire.com

Emmanuel House, co-ordinators of the Nottingham Winter Shelter have announced that this year’s shelter will run for an additional six weeks, from Monday 8th October 2018 to Monday 8th April 2019, to provide essential overnight accommodation for the city’s rough-sleepers.

Denis Tully, Emmanuel House CEO confirmed the extended opening: “This year we expect to see more demand for the Shelter, not only because of the growth in the number of homeless individuals, but also as winter temperatures seem to be getting harsher.

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“This means the Nottingham Winter Shelter is a vital part of the city’s support network for very vulnerable adults. We are delighted to be able to offer the Shelter for an extended period this season, at a time when the complex support work provided by Emmanuel House is needed more than ever.

“Although the overnight provision is vitally important, it’s only part of the support package the Winter Shelter guests receive. The Nottingham Winter Shelter not only provides accommodation but also enables Emmanuel House to work with guests of the shelter in order to identify permanent housing options along with providing other vital support and advice”.

The Nottingham Winter Shelter provides emergency shelter, acceptance, physical and emotional support, and encouragement in making positive life changes.

Over the six month period, the Shelter will operate across six church halls: St. Saviour’s in the Meadows; The Arches, Trent Vineyard; Thomas Helwys Baptist Church; the Friends Meeting House, Clarendon Street; Mansfield Road Baptist Church, and St. Christopher’s, Sneinton. Nottingham Winter Shelter is run by the Shelter Manager, Viv Dickinson, who is supported by a team of coordinators, project workers and volunteers, all managed by Emmanuel House.

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Anyone sleeping rough over the age of 18 can access the services regardless of their personal characteristics or cultural identity. Professional support staff at Emmanuel House assesses each person and, if necessary, refer them to the Shelter for temporary accommodation until ‘move-on’ and permanent housing can be found.

In 2017/18, the Shelter provided 1,879 nights’ protection from the winter weather. 111 guests (of which 17 were women) spent an average of 17 nights in the Shelter.

By the end of the season, Emmanuel House had found secure accommodation for 60% of guests. Of these, 4% of guests were reconnected with friends and family, 23% assisted into hostel or supported accommodation, 22% set-up with their own tenancies mainly in the private rented sector, and 8% helped with reconnection to other nations or regions of the UK. The remaining 40% either left without leaving details or returned to homelessness.

Each year, the success of the Nottingham Winter Shelter depends on the commitment of Shelter Coordinators, a dedicated team of overnight staff, and an army of volunteers, 103 in 2017/18. They help set up the Shelter and provide hot snacks in the evenings, then return at 7.00 a.m. to provide breakfast and help clear away to enable host churches to use their premises during the day. Recruitment for volunteers has already begun for this season. The shelter also benefits from the collaboration of the Street Outreach Team, Housing Aid and the Homelessness Prevention Gateway in making and responding to referrals.

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Denis Tully added: “We are also immensely grateful for the support of donors whose generosity will allow us to operate the Shelter. Whilst the six week extension of the Winter Shelter is supported by money from Nottingham City’s successful bid to the national Rough Sleepers Fund, the rest of the Winter Shelter duration is funded by money independently raised through donations, grants and charitable trusts”.

For more information on Winter Shelter volunteering or funding opportunities, please visit www.emmanuelhouse.org.uk