University to reopen winter shelter for Nottingham homeless people

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The University of Nottingham will once again offer support to Nottingham’s homeless community this winter by reopening its shelter on University Park.

In partnership with Nottingham-based homelessness charity Emmanuel House Support Centre, the charity will provide short-term emergency accommodation for up to 27 people per night, from Monday 17 October to April 2023 .

Round-the-clock support will also be provided at an unused university building, ensuring there are fewer people sleeping on the streets of Nottingham.

Denis Tully, CEO of Emmanuel House, said: “As we enter our second season of collaboration with the university, we are delighted to benefit from their generous offer of accommodation at a neutral rate.

The Winter Shelter will provide what we anticipate will be much needed respite accommodation for people who would otherwise sleep rough during the colder and wetter months of the year.

He continued: “Staff and volunteers have worked hard to get everything in place at the University of Nottingham campus site. The winter shelter is not an end in itself, but a means of accompanying people towards more permanent accommodation solutions.

Ashley Roberts, head of campus services at the University of Nottingham, is leading the project. He said: “It’s fantastic to be able to work with Emmanuel House again this year and put an otherwise empty property to good use.

“Last winter it was great to see the university community come together to support the charity, with many donations and volunteers volunteering their time to help out at the shelter. I’m sure our staff and students will once again support Emmanuel House this winter and make it a fruitful partnership.

The university is able to provide accommodation at Emmanuel House at a neutral rate and will work with the charity to help people find jobs, find permanent accommodation and access other services.

Daisy Forster, community officer for the University of Nottingham Students’ Union, said: ‘It’s amazing to see the university so actively helping the community, especially when giving back is so important.

The students are a tremendous asset to the town, and I really hope that many of them will get involved in volunteering at the shelter.

Last year’s winter shelter, which was opened between November 2021 and March 2022, provided 2,067 nights of protection for 72 people. 37 of these people were accompanied to longer-term secure accommodation, an average of 3.5 people per week.

Emmanuel House has operated a winter shelter in community halls around Nottingham since 2006. They have gradually become a key service for the homeless over the winter. Over the past 12 years, the Winter Shelter has provided emergency accommodation to 1,621 people, 952 of whom have been helped to find long-term accommodation.

In March 2020, the Emmanuel House winter shelter moved into a hotel as part of the ‘Everybody In’ initiative when the government ordered all local authorities to move all homeless people to single rooms . Emmanuel House was then taking care of up to 50 people per night. The round-the-clock global support offered by this hosting model has proven to be invaluable.

This year there will be no central funding for hotel accommodation, but it is also not possible to run the winter shelter in a parish hall. Many customers have underlying health conditions, which means customers cannot sleep in a large space where any infection could be quickly passed between customers and staff.

This year’s winter shelter will cost £1,000 per night. Emmanuel House funds the service through donations from charities, private donors and businesses.

Emmanuel House is currently looking for volunteers and session staff to work at the Winter Shelter. Information on volunteering, job opportunities and fundraising is available on the Maison de l’Emmanuel website.

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