winter night shelter

As the lockdown restrictions ease, we are winding down our emergency response.  As you may know, Westminster City Council (WCC) housed rough sleepers in hotels across the borough during the height of the crisis. These hotels have been emptied over the weekend and thankfully, many of the guests have been supported into new accommodation. The Day Centres are preparing to reopen, but there is a gap of a few weeks between the hotels closing and the Day Centres reopening.

WCC have asked a small group of venues to open for a few weeks as a shower and food hub for some of the people who have returned to the streets.

We have been asked to open on a Sunday and Monday from 10am – 4pm and we are now endeavouring to determine if we can organise a team of volunteers to staff this project.

Initially, we are aiming to provide the service on the following dates: Monday 13 July; Sunday 19 July; Monday 20th July; Sunday 26th July; and Monday 27th July.

 In line with government recommendations we will practice serious and disciplined hygiene and social distancing throughout. We will also provide the relevant PPE. We will also only be able to accommodate volunteers aged 18-70 for the time being.

Each person coming to the synagogue for a shower is invited by appointment, and we will have all the names in advance. One person will arrive by themselves every twenty minutes to come inside, shower, change clothes, take food, and then leave.

We currently plan to have two volunteers in the kitchen preparing food. This shift will begin at 9am. We will have 18 guests come through the building each day plus six volunteers. This team may finish by midday. From the second week it may be possible to prepare food for both Sunday and Monday on the Sunday. We will need to be a bit flexible as we learn how this works.

We will also need two volunteers to host our guests. These volunteers will collect the guests from reception, show them where to wash their hands, give them the items they need to take a shower and get dry as well as a set of fresh clean clothes, collect the bag the guest will have packed with their old clothes for disposal or washing, give them food to take away, and then escort them to the exit. These volunteers will arrive at 9am to set up and finish around 4.30pm once the guests have left and the place is tidied. If this is too long a shift, then you could sign up for either the first half or the second.

We will be using the two different shower rooms alternately. The hosting volunteers will also have to wipe down the shower after each use with cleaning spray and a cloth. This will be done after fifteen minutes to ensure droplets have settled, although N95 masks will be provided each shift.

Lastly, we will have one volunteer at reception to receive each new guest as they arrive and ensure that only the guests invited will be allowed inside to access the project. They will also be able to signpost anyone who arrives mistakenly to other services they can access. This shift will run from 9am – 4.30pm

To sign up to volunteer please use the links below

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