Ipswich Winter Night Shelter launches drive for volunteers after new expanded service announced

The homeless in Ipswich tuck in to a hot meal at the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter. Photograph Simon

The homeless in Ipswich tuck in to a hot meal at the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

The Ipswich Winter Night Shelter has launched a drive for volunteers ahead of opening its doors on December 2.

The shelter was launched in 2011 to help people sleeping rough by offering overnight shelter for the three coldest months of the year, with cleaning facilities, warmth and a hot meal.

Having become an integral part of the services available for those in need, the shelter is this year expanding in an effort to help more people.

Bernadette Ross-Smith, chairman of the IWNS, said: “This year we are expanding to Sunday afternoon shelter, and also a shelter called the Christmas Project, to help those over the festive period when many services are closed.”

Delivered by the Selig (Suffolk) Trust, the shelter is housed by various churches throughout the town on different nights of the week, with this year’s shelter running from December 2 to March 13.

Reverend Canon Paul Daltry, chair of Selig (Suffolk) Trust, said: “We are thrilled we can do the night shelter once more.

“We are exploring how we can give better support for the weekends and at Christmas where agencies need to shut down.

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“To be able to offer those beds for that long a time, we are really hoping to be able to work with partner agencies and the guests to improve their lives.”

The IWNS complements services run by Ipswich Borough Council during the winter months, including up to 12 emergency beds when temperatures drop to 0C or below for three days in a row, and housing advice.

Now, IWNS is looking for volunteers to help run and support the shelter this year, having launched the call for volunteers at last week’s harvest festival service at St Michael’s Church in Woolverstone.

Ms Ross-Smith, said: “It was great to be able to kick-start the call of volunteers at the event – hopefully we will have a great response.

For more information about the IWNS and to volunteer, visit the website at www.iwns.org.uk or call 07900 073721. Training for the role will take place on November 7.

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