For the fifth year, this initiative run by Coventry Churches to welcome 20 people each night who are sleeping rough is back in Coventry. Starting on the 1 December and running until 31 March.
The temperatures are forecast to drop below zero this week, and not for the first time this winter. No-one should have to sleep rough at any time of the year, but in these conditions it becomes imperative to provide shelter to save lives. Coventry Winter Night Shelter provides a meal and a safe, warm bed for rough sleepers through the coldest months of the year.
This year, throughout the course of the project which runs for 17 weeks, we expect to provide over 2000 beds and hearty meals. We will also be providing a New Year’s Day meal and safe friendly place to start the new year.
Each evening the guests and volunteers will join each other for a meal, games and some chat, and then guests can get a good night’s sleep before being served a breakfast in the morning.
Rushy Hayer, one of the night shelter’s volunteers in previous years, tells us about her experience volunteering at the shelter:
“Each night I volunteered, I spent the evenings with the guests distracting them for a few hours with activities, games and chatter, both serious and relaxed. The guests are a lovely bunch of people who appreciated the shelter, the food, warmth, conversation and most importantly being treated like the normal people they are. I genuinely enjoyed my evenings with the guests who despite their difficult and very different situations were a pleasure to spend time with and still found something to laugh about”.
“The night shelter is sadly very much needed but a brilliant way to keep people safe and warm over the harshest months of the year. I’m looking forward to working with the CWNS again this season”.
As in previous years, CWNS relies on the help of hundreds of volunteers to make it all happen. We have been encouraged by the willing responses of many volunteers, and are still open for new volunteers to come forward, especially to help with the overnight shifts. These run from 10pm to 7am and consist of 3 people (2 awake and 1 asleep, taking it in turns) to ensure the smooth running of the shelter overnight whilst the guests are asleep.
The volunteering opportunities are varied, from helping cook meals to talking and listening to the guests and playing games, or even to drive a mini bus on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings! If anyone feels they can help with this or anything else, even the occasional shift, you can get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like more information or to sign up to volunteer you can take a look at our Coventry Winter Night Shelter Facebook page or visit our website