Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Birmingham winter shelter pilot

February 10 2012
Organisers hope for a longer-running project next season


Here at The Pavement, we have been eagerly following the progress of the pilot winter shelter in Birmingham. We are pleased to announce that the project will kick off with a ‘trial run’ in February so as to be firmly established for next winter. The Birmingham Diocese Thrive West Midlands team is leading the pilot, with much-needed support and guidance from Housing Justice and the Birmingham Christian Homeless Forum.

The five churches taking part in the pilot include Birchfield (Perry Barr), Weoley Castle and Newtown. They will provide basic accommodation, dinner, breakfast and washing facilities every night for 10 homeless people with low support needs on Fridays (Newtown), Saturdays (Weoley Castle) and Monday nights (Birchfield). Volunteers have taken part in valuable training on how the pilot will run.

The pilot shelter will run for a month starting on Friday, 3 February. It will launch -fittingly - during Poverty and Homelessness Action week (28 January-5 February). Organisers hope to set up a longer-running shelter with more churches for the following winter.

Referrals to the shelter will be handled by the helpdesk team at St Martin’s in the Bullring. If you are already in touch with SIFA Fireside, the Health Xchange or Reach Out Network, please ask your support worker to contact St Martin’s Helpdesk. Alternatively, you can visit St Martin’s Helpdesk on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm) or on Saturdays (10.30am-12.30am).

Housing Justice convenes a forum for church-run winter shelters which meets regularly in London and supports the development of new shelters by running training days. The charity also produces much needed guidance for pilots, such as the ‘Shelter in a Pack’ resource, which offers step-by-step support for churches considering a pilot in their neighbourhood.

The steering group includes three representatives who work for and have strong relationships with local homelessness charities, ensuring that the winter shelter links in with local established charities and services. St Martin’s in the Bullring will provide ongoing sign-posting and support to people staying in the shelters, especially to help find appropriate sustainable accommodation and other support services once the Shelter has closed.