Back in August, two months ago, I fired my opening salvo into the blogosphere and to my list of “interested” persons, regarding the part of the Church Winter Night Shelter (CWNS) program that I happen to manage, i.e. at Ferndale Baptist church. My shelter is one of seven winter night shelters that will be running for 17 weeks (ours will be Friday 7pm until Saturday 8am, starting November 27th). While I can’t speak for the other shelters (run on similar lines on the other six nights) I will be happy to connect folk, who are interested in helping out in these, to the relevant parties.
The start date is now looming large, a lot of the preparatory stuff has been done and we are raring to start, albeit with a hint of trepidation when trying to anticipate the unknown. The main thing that remains is to gather the team and get members to sign on the proverbial dotted line when it comes to committing to doing shifts. I appreciate the folk who have already expressed an interest already and invite others to come forward. A separate form, which is returnable, can be downloaded for this purpose. Folk are encouraged to complete and return this electronically or otherwise as it is important to capture details. I anticipate once we get going there will be regular communication, typically via email, to keep folk up to date.
There is a lot about our operation I would like to share and people who volunteer are encouraged to come to our training evening to find out more (some stuff is available on the web, e.g. see here). We provide a hospitality service for people living on the streets. Most are referred to us by HARP but we do have discretion to accept those who self-refer. What we do is but a small part of what is needed for our guests to get to a better place, in particular finding suitable accommodation. We rely on partners like HARP, Family Mosaic and STARS to do some of the stuff that is needed, for we recognize our limitations. But what we do is significant: we provide Christian hospitality, a bed (or at least a sleeping bag) for the night, evening meal and breakfast and human kindness. We serve those of all faiths and none without imposition, and our volunteers are of all faiths and none, but our ethos is Christian and we do pray.
These are the important dates for your diary:
Friday 23rd October 2015 – 1900 – 2200: Fund raising meal. Check out our poster for details. Our funds are zero and we need to change that. Offers for prizes and services for raffle / auction are appreciated.
Friday 13th November 2015 – 1900 – 2100: Ferndale Volunteer training evening. While volunteers tend to have to hit the ground running, especially if it is the first time, we strongly recommend attendance as there is a lot you need to or it is desirable to know, and this is the time you can find out.
Friday 27th November 2015 – 1830 – 0900 (next day): Ferndale CWNS commences and thereafter until 18th March 2016.
There will be at other training sessions (details tba but 3rd November evening has been set aside) for any volunteer and covering all the night shelters. There will also be other specialist training available.