What went on January 2020

The first 3 months

The end of January 2020 marks the halfway point in this year’s winter shelter.  Since the beginning of December we have been full or nearly full each night – we can provide 15 beds.  Here are some ‘stats’ on what you have helped us to achieve:

  • 62 guests registered, with 52 having slept at Sanctuary
  • 800 sleeps on the street prevented – our previous record was 712 – and that was for the whole of the winter period. We still have 3 months to go!
  • 9 guests given places to live – although this required them to move to Bradford and Durham
  • 11,000 Volunteers hours given
  • £11,000 was given in donations over the Christmas period.

Sadly, we have seen an increase in the number of ex-servicemen who have become homeless.  The 3 we are dealing with at the moment are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which used to be known as ‘shell shock’.  These guests have seen death on a regular basis and have had little or no support since coming out of the army.  To cope they have turned to heroin and cocaine (where they have become addicted), and a dependency on alcohol.

They know how to survive as that was part of their training.  What they need now is a ‘home’ and people who care for them.  Steve and Lorna spend time with them encouraging them to keep on the drug programs, to visit other agencies who can help, and to be a friendly face.  As a result they see the night shelter at Longferry Court as a place of refuge.


As we look back, we are continually amazed at the generosity of our supporters and volunteers who make Sanctuary possible.  Our budget for this winter was the largest we have ever set (around £50,000), and at the start of the winter we were not sure if we could remain open for the planned 6 months.  But with the gifts given over Christmas and those of you who support us regularly every month, we can say with certainty that we will be open until the end of April 2020 as planned.

That’s not to say we don’t need your help financially.  We are already planning for next winter and  there are still things we would like to do now.  Below is a list of items we need to purchase for the night shelter at Longferry Court:

  • Security Camera on the front door and storeroom (£500)
  • Installation of broadband (£300)
  • Replacement mobile phone for the project manager (£150)
  • Washing machine that can cope with the nightly bedding (£400)
  • Partition curtain for the volunteer room (£100)

As well as this, we also need to update our marketing materials:

  • New leaflets that explain what we do (£75)
  • New stand for outside exhibitions (£1,200)
  • Roll-up stands for indoor exhibitions (£130)

If you can help out with any of these – or you would like to arrange a sponsored event to raise funds, then full details on how you can do this can be found at  www.GraveshamSanctuary.uk/Donate.

Wednesday Night Opening:

For this winter it was our intention was to open up 7 days/week for 6 months.  So far we have only managed to open 5 days due to a lack of volunteers.  However, the publicity received over Christmas has given us some new volunteers and so we can now open up 6 days/week – but only just.

If you already volunteer and a Wednesday/Thursday shift is more convenient for you, or you can only volunteer on a Wednesday/Thursday, and would like to add this shift to your availability, please let Mike Collins know at mikecollins@citypraisecentre.com, or by phone at 07400 765926.

We aim to start the Wednesday/Thursday shift from 5th February.

This just leaves Saturday night we have yet to cover.  If you know of anyone who would like to volunteer at Sanctuary – particularly for Saturday overnight and Sunday morning shifts, can you get them to sign up on our website at:


With your help we want to get to 7 nights/week before the end of winter.

Sanctuary is a ‘first point of contact’ to those who are homeless irrespective of situation or background, with a focus on providing assistance not catered by other agencies..

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