As you may have heard there is a big shakeup going on in government regulation on homelessness. Because of Covid19, we are having to change some of the ways in which we operate, with the main one being that we can no longer have guests sleeping in a communal area. For the past few months we have been working with the council on this year’s arrangements – they will be providing us with as new venue where our guests can sleep as we cannot use Longferry Court for that purpose. We hope to have the new building by September, so with that in mind here are our plans for this coming winter 2020/21.
- The aim is to open this year’s shelter on Monday 9th November running until Friday 26 March 2021. This is dependent on us receiving the building from the council in time.
- We plan to open 7 nights week. Arrangements for Christmas will be made during November
- The Night shelter will be run as 2 shifts:
- Evening shift running between 7pm- 9pm (Volunteers 6:30pm – 9:30pm), where a hot meal will be served. This is likely to take place at Longferry Court.
- Overnight shift running between 10:00pm – 7:30am (Volunteers 9:30pm – 7:30am). Breakfast will be toast, cereals and a hot drink – we will not need any cooks for this session
- Guests will need to book a place at the night shelter by mid-day on the day they wish to stay. They can do this by registering at Longferry Court which will be open each weekday morning. There will be no exceptions to this rule – only those registered will be allowed in.
- We will have strict Covid19 procedures in place to keep both our volunteers and guests safe. These will be adhered to at all times.
- This is currently being completely re-written with help from Caring Hands based in Canterbury, and will focus more on dealing with guest issues. There will be two versions of the course – one for general volunteers and one for coordinators. We will also have a refresher course for kitchen staff
- Most courses will take place on a Saturday- we will give out several dates in the next few weeks so you can choose which is most appropriate. These will take place at Longferry Court, but as this is not the main sleeping venue, a series of evening ‘familiarise’ sessions will be organised about 1 month before we open so volunteers can drop by and find out how their role will work in the evening and overnight sessions.
- We have started volunteer recruitment – if you served last year we will be in contact over the next few weeks. Alternatively – and if you are new to volunteering – you can apply using our on-line application form.
- One of the questions we will be asking when we follow up with you, is whether you can serve a complete week at a time. This is to minimise the number of ‘new’ volunteer interactions our guests have each week. Depending on the answers we receive will dictate whether we can implement this approach. But if you can’t then don’t worry – just let us know what days you can do.
Winter is not that far away (sorry for the spoiler) so do keep volunteering and supporting us in mind throughout these challenging times.