Community groups appeal to get night shelter ready for winter

Published: Monday, 10 October 2016

Northampton residents are being asked to donate their time to establish and manage an emergency night shelter to provide accommodation for people sleeping rough.

Planning proposals for the night shelter were approved by Northampton Borough Council last month and now the race is on to have the accommodation ready ahead of the cold winter evenings. The organisations behind the shelter are calling for local volunteers to help finish the refurbishment and redecoration of the building before the end of November and to staff the service once it opens.

Work has already started to transform the former British Rail Social Club on St Andrew’s Road, but the community project is in need of people who are willing to turn their hand to DIY to make sure that the accommodation is finished on time.

As soon as the building is complete, a team of volunteers will be required to staff the shelter each night. Northampton Borough Council is leading the recruitment drive for volunteers. Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing, said:
“The shelter will be open from 9pm to 9am every night. For this to happen, we need to call on the support of our local community and to find enough volunteers to staff the shelter every day, all year round. We will provide comprehensive training and ongoing support to everyone who joins the night shelter team.

“There are other ways to get involved too, as we’re looking for people to help us get the shelter finished on time, so we would love to hear from anyone who is willing to spare a few hours to pick up a paintbrush or help with gardening to make a real difference.”

The night shelter is the first of ten objectives in the “together we change lives” strategy, which was developed by 30 local agencies earlier this year and sets out a plan to work together to end rough sleeping in Northampton. Goodwill Solutions are one of the agencies supporting the shelter:

Mike Britton, Managing Director at Goodwill Solutions, said: “I am pleased to be involved in an initiative that will deliver an end to rough sleeping in Northampton.  In today’s world, we must be able to find solutions to support people who have become detached from society and to help them find their way to a better future.  This initiative promises to do just that which is why we need people from the local community to volunteer their time to make it happen.”

If you would like to support the night shelter, either as a volunteer or by donating materials and equipment, please visit northampton.gov.uk/northamptonnightshelter.