Call for homeless shelter volunteers

Mansfield night shelter
Mansfield night shelter

Can you spare a few hours a week to help Mansfield's homeless community? Mansfield District Council is working with local churches and Derby City Mission to run a winter night shelter from 9 December

The shelter will be open seven nights a week and be based across seven venues on a rota basis.

Derby City Mission, which runs the shelter for the council, is also seeking paid staff. Help from volunteers is needed each evening from 8pm to 10pm to help set up and from 6am to 8am each morning to help tidy away. Duties could include signing people in, getting bedding ready and serving food and drinks.

Volunteers do not need any experience or qualifications as full training will be provided. Training sessions for volunteers will be held on Thursday 24 October, Thursday 7 and 14 November at the Chesterfield Road South Methodist Church from 6pm to 8pm. 

Volunteers need to confirm their attendance on a specific date by emailing Mallory Seddon at mseddon@mansfield.gov.uk. To apply for the paid positions, see www.derbycitymission.org.uk.

Mansfield's Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams, who has worked as a volunteer at the Beacon Centre, said: "Helping out at these shelters is a very rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone who cares about other people and wants to make a difference to the community. 

"The people who come to the shelter are so grateful for the help they are being given during a difficult time in their lives. All you need is to be non-judgmental, caring and prepared to offer a listening ear. You don't need any experience or have to commit to ten shifts a week but you do need to be reliable and turn up when you have agreed to be there."

Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: "The winter night shelter is a vital service for our street homeless and goes above and beyond what the council is obliged to provide. 

"As well as providing rough sleepers with a warm, safe place to sleep and hot food, in the coldest months, the shelter also enables the council to make contact with this very vulnerable group of people so that we can try to find a permanent solution to their housing needs, and get them off the streets. It is about building trust and helping people to turn their lives around."  

In addition to the winter night shelter, the council's specialist outreach workers are out on the district's streets every week of the year actively seeking and trying to engage with rough sleepers to help them access services that could help them tackle issues such as drug dependency and mental illness.

If you see someone who is homeless, please contact the Framework Street Outreach 24-hour hotline on 0800 066 5356, to ensure they are offered the necessary support. 

You can also help the efforts to support rough sleepers in Mansfield by donating time or items to one of the many organisations that work with them. Find out more at www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk.

Published: September 18th 2019