Night Shelter Practicalities (2)

This posting is specifically aimed at volunteers for the Ferndale Baptist Church Southend Church Winter Night Shelter (CWNS) program but may be of wider interest to any interested in CWNS. In my first posting on the subject, I looked forward to the start of the CWNS program due to run throughout December and March, and did so then and do so now from the Ferndale perspective, the shelter I am down to manage each Friday during that period. Also, if you can’t volunteer for us, there are six other churches doing the other nights and they may also be interested in hearing from you.

In this second posting, I address specific issues, which in normal circumstances might be a memo, policy, handbook or similar but, given the power of Facebook and the Internet, it seemed appropriate to include this here. The first thing to say is we are needing to put together a contact list and rota so we would like to know peoples’ contacts and availability. Our sessions are: 5/12, 12/12, 19/12, 26/12, 2/1. 9/1, 16/1, 23/1, 30/1, 6/2, 13/2, 20/2, 27/2, 6/3, 13/3, 20/3, 27/3, with three shifts: 1830-2200, 2200-0600 and 0600-0830.

We look to use a variety of skills (described in the earlier post) and hope these will complement each other but particularly need people who can stay overnight and cook. If you are interested can you let me know your availability and what you can offer to do, in order for me to prepare the rota? If you wish to volunteer, please arrange to attend the Ferndale volunteer briefing: Friday 21st November, 1930 – 2130 at Ferndale Baptist Church, North Ave, SS2 4ET (in the hall along the side) and the general CWNS briefing Tuesday 25th November, 1930 – 2130 pm, at Shoebury Baptist Church. Back to the meeting this coming Friday, this is the agenda with a brief explanation of what is involved:

Welcome, introductions and coffee: this provides a chance for people to introduce themselves and get to know one another.

History and ethos: CWNS is about to embark on its fourth year. An overview will be given as to what has been achieved thus far, why we do it and what our values are.

Tour of the premises: since we will be meeting “on-site”, this will be a good opportunity to check out where we will entertain our guests and the general layout of the building.

Run through a “typical” evening: go through all that is expected to take place from the point the volunteers and guests arrive until the point when they leave.

Roles, responsibilities and rotas: identify and define the applicable roles and responsibilities and begin to firm up the volunteer rota.

Practicalities: lots of things to consider when dealing with our guests and giving them a “good” experience e.g. health and safety. Go over some of the more important points.

Questions: have we missed anything? Chance for volunteers to share what is on their mind and find the answer to anything not adequately covered.

Please email me at if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, together with your contact telephone and email, days and shifts you can make, how you may be able to help, and whether or not you can make the meeting on 21st November (it is not essential to attend but it helps if you can).


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