Night Light Winter Shelter

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The Night Light Winter Shelter in Basingstoke will be opening its doors again for the fourth year running, providing hot meals, breakfasts and a bed for guests without homes, as well as warmth, company and support at a time which can be particularly isolating for those in need.

The shelter will be open from December 1st 2019 until February 29th 2020, and is run by a network of trained and dedicated volunteers. This year the project is returning to operating at various church venues in Basingstoke. The team of volunteers will, however, continue to create a feeling of home and a sense of community for the guests.

We at St John’s, Hook are proud to support the work of the shelter through the efforts of volunteers from our congregation, donations of supplies, and in 2017 and 2018, through a percentage of the collections taken up at our Christmas services.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the work of the Night Light Winter Shelter, this can be done by cheque or direct bank transfer.

Cheques should be made payable to “The Starfish Enterprise Trust Ltd – Night Shelter Basingstoke” and sent to Night Light Winter Shelter, c/o Basingstoke Community Churches, The Sarum Hill Centre, Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, Hants RG21 8SR.

Direct transfers can be made to:

Account Name: The Starfish Enterprise Trust Night Shelter Account

Sort Code: 60-02-49

Account No: 80032907

 

kitchen dining craft

Making a difference - What did in winter 2018 - 2019

A ‘pop up’ winter night shelter project was provided by the Churches of Basingstoke for a third year for 90 nights between 1st December 2018 and 28th February 2019. The aim was to offer the culture and practice of Christian hospitality to homeless people, especially entrenched rough sleepers. Once again, we saw some amazing personal transformations and it was our aim again this year to help motivate our guests to move away from the streets and towards a ‘home’ and to see again a personal transformation. One venue was used this year for all seven nights.

Night Light is a member of the Housing Justice network of Church and Community Night Shelters (CCNS). Night Light is an accredited shelter with The Housing Justice Quality Mark of “Excellent Practice Standard”.

Night Light is part of The Starfish Enterprise Trust Ltd.

Night Light Winter Shelter recorded outcomes
Total number of referrals 89
unable to offer a bed - too high risk/too high needs 8
Total number within scope of project 81
total number of individual attending guests 53
Highest attendance 17 (113%)
Total number of beds available 1350
Total attendance 1124
Average attendance (90 nights) 12.48 (83%)
Female guests using the service 12
Moving on into positive destinations (off the streets)* 43*
Total number of volunteer hours 11,970
Total acts of KINDNESS 100,000 plus
Average volunteer hours per night 133

*This figure is the number of guests moving off the streets out of the 53 who used the service. The outcome of the 8 not offered a bed is unknown. 28 who did not use the service were either accommodated before the shelter opened, whilst the shelter was in operation or are unknown*

outside

We were so fortunate to host this year’s shelter in one building. Key House, Sarum Hill, owned by Basingstoke Community Churches had previously been The Kings School and on closure of the school we were offered the opportunity to use it for this season’s shelter.

So, if we were to make this year’s shelter another success, we would need to get to work and prepare the building for occupation. Some of last year’s guest decided to lend a hand and so the work began, decorating and adding homely touches.

preparation women men

Pictures and plants were used to make spaces welcoming. Sleeping quarters were made cosy with fresh linen, duvets, fleece blankets and fairy lights. Pictures, mirrors and some plants completed the “home from home” atmosphere we were after in the women’s bedroom, which had 4 beds. There was plenty of space for twelve beds in the men’s room and every effort was made to make it just a little bit masculine. There was opportunity for reflection in the quiet room, which was also used as an overflow for our female guests and for those in a crafty mood, there was plenty of art materials.  Nutritious meals served in the dining room always included a vegetarian option and treats were available at the hospitality table.  There were many donations of food from our home cooks. Our local supermarkets, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, M&S Food and Tesco also supported the project. With Fyffes donating bananas for a second year, our guests certainly didn’t go hungry! Once dinner was over guests could enjoy a game of pool, scrabble or cards.It was great to have such a lot of space; this also included a room for clothes donations, a fabulous kitchen and a laundry room on the second floor.

dining beds clothes

Graham's Story

papercutting

On September the 5th 2017 I found myself in the unfortunate position of being homeless with nowhere to go and I felt like my life was over.

While I struggled to come to terms with my circumstances, I met some very important people who pointed me in the right direction and who referred me to the Basingstoke Night Light Winter Shelter.

I was quite apprehensive about entering the night shelter for the first time as I didn’t know what to expect. I think I expected it to be like what you see in the movies, queueing at the door on a first come first serve basis and just being offered a bed and a meal. Whilst some people may have felt like that, the night shelter was so much more to me. I was and still am an alcoholic and I felt like I would be judged for my addiction, but in actual fact, to my complete and utter surprise, I encountered some amazingly kind people who generously gave up their time to offer support and kind words. They were extremely welcoming and showed a genuine interest in how my day was and they offered encouragement with my alcohol addiction.

Within the first 2 weeks I told Lorraine, the Project Leader, that I wanted to be involved the following year.

We were fortunate enough to have a single venue this year and so as such I was limited to how I could contribute. Volunteering at the shelter was extremely important for me, I was able to give back to the people who helped me the previous year and it was great to help the people that found themselves in the situation I had previously been in. It also gave me focus and the ability to battle my ongoing issues with alcohol.

With the support of all the volunteers and friends that I have made over the last 2 years I am successfully abstaining from alcohol. (at the point of writing this, 5 and a half months). I have a full- time job and have now found affordable accommodation and life is going very well.

The shelter and the time given by the volunteers really does change lives.

I want to thank you all for your continued support. Keep up the good work and see you all in December 2019.

Some Guest Feedback

Please tell us anything you particularly enjoyed about the night shelter and your stay?

The opportunity to seek help and support to get back to normal life. I particularly enjoyed conversations with volunteers and the leisure activities.

I have enjoyed everything about my stay at the shelter. The food!

Meals are good, very much appreciated everything, enjoyed meeting new people All of it!

Very supportive staff, very kind and considerate.

The friendly atmosphere that they try and give to the place.

It was good to have somewhere warm and safe to sleep. I know I’m going to get a meal.

Nice friendly volunteers, very approachable and activities good, great to be able to watch DVD’s and get the use of computers.

A feeling of safety.

Somewhere to be kept warm, fed and feeling safe. Gained more confidence knowing people both guests and volunteers.

Able to take a shower and have clothes washed

Always made to feel very welcome and greeted with a friendly face, nothing is too much trouble.

What could we do better?

It would be good if the shelter could open a little earlier at 6pm Very much appreciated everything

Nothing - longer time to sleep in the mornings and longer opening hours

If I could change anything it would be to have not had to leave so early in the morning Somewhere to go in the day, it is very boring on the streets

Stop the drugs coming in! Everything was very good.

Day time venue