Our 2016/17 shelter season has just come to an end, and we can safely say it’s been a big year for Robes! From running two shelters simultaneously for the first time and increasing our number of guests to 35 each night to running the Wednesday Club, our weekly drop-in for guests, and celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2017, this season has seen many exciting changes and great achievements.

The shelter, of course, remains at the heart of everything we are doing at Robes – offering our guests a warm and safe place to stay. Our amazing volunteers welcomed 75 guests into the shelter over the course of the winter. Our guests are some of the most marginalised people in our city, and with having nowhere else to go the shelter provided a literal lifeline to many of our guests.

Once in the shelter, our guests also have access to our two advice workers who are supporting our guests in finding more stable and long-term accommodation and navigating their way out of homelessness, as well as offering support in other areas of need.

Here are some of our highlights from the shelter and advice work this year:

  • Thanks to our amazing volunteers who hosted and run the shelter across 28 different church venues in Southwark and Lambeth, we were able to offer a total of 4,760 bed spaces, and provided shelter for 75 guests this season.
  • Our guests are from all over the world, roughly 1/3 is from the UK, the EU and outside the EU each. We welcomed 15 women, as well as 60 male guests in our shelter.
  • Out of our 75 guests who stayed in the shelter this winter, 38 guests were off the streets at the end of the season. We managed to help 26 guests into stable, long-term accommodation and a further 12 into temporary accommodation such as other shelters.
  • We helped 4 guests with no recourse to public funds, and therefore extremely limited access to housing, into accommodation through hosting schemes and solidarity places in supported housing projects.
  • The Wednesday Club, our weekly drop-in for guests, has gone from strength to strength and about 20 guests visit the Wednesday Club each week now. Some of the highlights were a First Aid course for guests, trips to the Science Museum, Greenwich Planetarium, and Westminster Abbey, and some delicious food prepared by guests and volunteers.

Although the shelter season has ended now, our advice work and Wednesday Club are year around, and we are continuing to work with our guests throughout the summer months, and last week alone 3 of our former guests who were still rough sleeping after the shelter had closed, could move into stable accommodation!