The 2022 winter shelter opened on Monday 03 January 2022 and closed on Thursday 31 March 2022.
In order to run efficiently each winter, we rely on the support of our many willing and capable volunteers and we are really pleased to have so many people who are happy to give up their time and skills to support us in our work.
Our volunteering process for winter 2022 has now closed. If you wish to be added to our mailing list for consideration as a volunteer next winter, please send your name, email address and contact phone number to our adminstrator via our contact form:
MCWS could not run without the hard work of our amazing volunteers. Although many of our volunteers come from local churches, you do not need to go to church to become a volunteer.
Our volunteers are essential to a successful shelter and we are very fortunate to have their ongoing support, communication skills and teamwork. Volunteering has always been a core value at Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter. Words cannot begin to express how grateful we are for the dedication, care and kind-heartedness of our volunteers each winter.
Our shelters run from various church venues around Maidstone and we have a variety of different shifts available for our volunteers. Further details of these shifts are shown below.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to read our FAQ's below.
afternoon roles: 3.15pm - 6.15pm
Prepare and offer drinks/light refreshments
Socialise and support guests
kitchen team: 6-9pm
Prepare, cook and serve the evening meal for 7.30pm
Wash up and tidy away
Clean and sanitize the kitchen
Set up / welcome team: 6.30-9.30pm
Setting up tables for dinner
Welcoming and serving guests
Eating a meal alongside our guests and socialising with them
Tidying away tables/chairs etc
Cleaning & sanitizing all areas
breakfast team: 7.30am -9am
Prepare, cook and serve breakfast
Prepare packed lunches for guests to take away
Clear away and sanitize the kitchen afterwards
tidy up team: 9.00 - 10.00am
Tidy and clean the overnight property, including bedrooms, all communal areas and bathroom(s)
Change sleeping bags/bedding and towels, unless advised otherwise by the Operations team
Ensure the property is ready for use again by our guests in the evening
All the above jobs are essential to the smooth running of the shelter and couldn’t be achieved without the support, communication skills and teamwork of our volunteers.
In order to continue to keep our guests, volunteers and staff safe, we adhere to the Covid guidelines in place at the time.
If you would like to know more, please refer to our FAQ's below or read our Volunteer Handbook:
The shelter was a joy to be a part of, given that everyone would rather it wasn’t needed. It was well run, safe and had an increasingly positive vibe throughout.
Frequently Asked questions
Do I have to volunteer for every night?
No. On our volunteer application form we ask volunteers to specify which evenings and weeks they are available, plus the tasks they’d like to undertake. Our rotas are prepared using this information.
Will I be allocated all the shifts I volunteer for?
Not necessarily. We try to ensure that all of our volunteers are allocated shifts. If we have too many volunteers for a shift, we will limit the number of volunteers for that evening. This is to ensure that our guests aren’t overwhelmed and outnumbered by the volunteers. There are plenty of shifts though & we do try to ensure that all volunteers are able to help.
What if I volunteer but don’t like it?
If you volunteer but then decide it’s not for you, please just let the office know you’d rather not volunteer again. We will remove your name from future rotas and find another volunteer to cover the future shifts.
If I am on the set up/Welcome shift, will I get dinner?
We ask our welcome team to share dinner with our guests in the same way as a family meal, so dinner is provided for evening volunteers in addition to guests, although we like our guests to be served first.
How will I know what to do if I haven’t volunteered before?
We run a couple of training sessions each winter, prior to the start of the shelter. However, a staff member or an experienced volunteer will always be on hand to guide you on your first shift(s). The teams of volunteers work really well together and are always there to support one another.
My children would like to help. Are they able to?
The shelter welcomes young volunteers aged between 14 and 17 years old to assist with various volunteer duties, including setting up the venue and meeting & greeting guests. However, any volunteers under the age of 18 will need to nominate a responsible adult who will attend each shift with them.
Do I need any checks if I want to volunteer?
On our volunteer application form we ask for details of 2 x referees, whom we contact to check the suitability of our volunteers. These checks are undertaken every 3 years. We also undertake DBS checks for our project staff.
will you be following any covid safe guidelines?
We will ensure we remain up-to-date with all current Covid guidance and will follow the latest guidance in order to keep our guests, volunteers and staff as safe as possible.
If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch.