Shelter Week 2020 - COVID 19 Update
The Board of Trustees have been keeping a close eye on the pandemic and the potential impact on shelter week 2020. It is with a heavy heart we have to share the news with you that the board of trustees has taken the difficult decision that we cannot run shelter week for 2020.
On 3 July, the Government advised that all night shelters offering accommodation in communal settings should remain closed and given the latest restrictions, that position has not changed due to the health risks they present
The safety of our guests and volunteers is our utmost priority and despite best efforts, we cannot see a way to operate shelter week without compromising that principle.
The "general" area needs volunteers who do not mind where they are placed. Due to the quick pace of the shelter week, we need general volunteers to be flexible and willing to support areas that require help. Jobs may vary from greeting guests when they arrive, serving food in the dining room, chaperoning people in services such as showers and the cinema room, ensuring everyone receives (and wears) a name badge and generally making sure things go to plan
Our kitchen area is managed by the Lead Chef. A team of professional chefs, giving their time and skills for free, ensure that the three full meals a day are served. Due to limited space, only a small number of volunteers are able to assist in the kitchen area. As a volunteer in the kitchen, tasks include cleaning, preparing food and washing up.
The Main Hall is the heart of the shelter, both the entertainments and tea-hatch are situated in the main hall. Being a volunteer in the main hall could involve socialising with the guests, sweeping up, clearing away plates or feeding the dogs. The Main Hall is also the place where men sleep, so late night volunteers will help with the setup of their sleeping area and early morning volunteers help to clear it away and get the out the tables and chairs. Pretty much anything goes!
The tea hatch/snack area is the busiest area of the main hall. Both guests and volunteers enjoy a lovely cuppa throughout the day and working in this area is never quiet as you will be speaking directly to guests and volunteers.
The Donations Room is where donations of food, toiletries, cleaning materials etc are catalogued, sorted and stored ready for use during Shelter Week. Volunteers working in this area will keep track of any donations used, wrap gifts that are given to guests on Christmas Day, identify suitable items for bingo prizes and make up the goody bags of food, clothes and toiletries to give to guests on the last day. It is generally only open from 09:00 to 17:00.
As no guests are present on the days when we setup and close down our Shelter, volunteers do not need induction training and we can welcome under 16's to help. The day starts at 10:00 and we aim to be finished within 5 hours. The main exception to this is our new volunteer team working through the night on the last day to pack the crates and keep an inventory of leftover items, ready to go into storage. Tasks include moving furniture, cleaning floors, mattresses, toilet, shower, kitchen and dining areas, unloading/re-loading the delivery van, putting up Christmas decorations and signs and setting up areas ready for use.
Our aim is to offer food, warmth, shelter and companionship to homeless and lonely people in the Birmingham area, over the Christmas period.
Our doors are open to all, irrespective of gender, colour, race, religion or sexual orientation.