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Volunteers needed for severe weather shelter

Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2020

With temperatures set to drop over the winter period, Northampton Borough Council is seeking to recruit more volunteers to help operate the town’s severe weather shelter.

The severe weather shelter provides somewhere warm, dry and safe to stay for people who are sleeping rough – including those who may be reluctant to engage with services – when the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is activated.

This winter, suitable Covid-secure town centre premises are being used and, when SWEP is activated, each guest will be provided with their own room. Special measures and safeguards have been put in place to ensure that everyone working, volunteering and staying in the severe weather shelter is protected from coronavirus.

In Northampton, SWEP will be activated when the Met Office forecasts that overnight temperatures in the town will be:

  • 0°C or below for at least three consecutive nights; and/or
  • -1°C or below for at least two hours between 9pm and 9am on one or more nights.

Additional volunteers are needed, during the evenings and the mornings, in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly. They help with a variety of tasks including welcoming and registering guests, providing meals, companionship and information, and ensuring that the shelter is left clean and tidy once everyone has left.

The Council, Northampton Hope Centre and NAASH are responsible for organising, managing and staffing the severe weather shelter, working alongside the Single Homelessness Forum and a wide range of other local services and organisations.

Rev Sue Faulkner, Chair of the Single Homelessness Forum, said: “Our SWEP shelter performs an important role in keeping safe those who would otherwise have nowhere to go during a cold snap.

“However, the severe weather shelter cannot run without the vital support of our amazing team of volunteers, who work tirelessly to ensure that the shelter is able to operate safely around the clock when SWEP is activated.

“We need more kind people who are committed, respectful and trustworthy to step up and become SWEP volunteers, so please get in touch if this is you and you would like to make a real and lasting difference to your local community.”

For more information and to apply, please visit: www.northampton.gov.uk/swepvolunteer