What we do
Although the Covid restrictions meant we could only offer hot meals, food parcels and some social support to our guests during winter 2020-21, please read below to see how the shelter runs during most winters:
Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter brings together Churches, Church members and Volunteers (both secular and non-secular) in Maidstone.
The Winter Shelter is a ‘rolling night shelter’, meaning that the load is shared between church venues and teams. The Shelter works by using seven venues (mostly churches close to Maidstone town centre) who provide overnight hospitality and accommodation, one night each per week, for up to 15 guests. An 8th church building is used to register our guests each afternoon, if they wish to access a meal/bed for that night.
The shelter is open over a 12 to 13 week period each year, during the coldest months of the winter.
During the first winter (2013/14) we offered 10 bed spaces to our guests per night, but we have been able to offer up to 15 bed spaces per night in subsequent years.
As well as a determined board of Trustees, the Shelter employs a small team to provide operations management, administration and volunteer coordination.
We are supported by over 250 volunteers, whose support is invaluable to the success of the shelter. Our volunteers:
set up the Shelter each night
cook and serve an evening meal
provide hospitality and a safe overnight environment for our guests to have a good nights sleep
provide breakfast the following morning before the guests leave for the day.
Whilst in the Shelter, our guests are encouraged and supported to liaise with other organisations such as Maidstone Borough Council Outreach team, Maidstone Day Centre, CGL (Change, Grow, Live) in order to support them with access to benefits/employment and into accommodation (temporary or permanent), helping them to move off the streets for good.