Update on winter 2018/19

During the winter of 2018/19 our shelter;

  • was funded by the Government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative via Ipswich Borough Council
  • this funding meant that we were able to open 8 weeks earlier than usual
  • it also meant that we were able to stay open for an additional 3.5 weeks in March
  • was hosted by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich St Nicholas Church and centre
  • St Nicholas provided us with a single venue for October – December and March
  • was hosted by 7 town centre churches in January and February
  • provided temporary accommodation for 52 different individuals over almost 6 months
  • accommodated up to 15 guests at any one time
  • helped 31 guests to secure longer term accommodation
  • worked with 11 different organisations to book guests in
  • had a team of just over 240 wonderful volunteers who deliver the shelter on a daily basis
  • employed a team of part tea staff to support volunteers and guests
  • served over 1,352 piping hot evening meals to guests thanks to volunteer cooks
  • gave every guest a pair of new pyjamas and slippers when they first arrived
  • took guests to Sunday afternoon film showings
  • funded activities to hep our guests improve their well-being
  • provided guests with bedding, toiletries and towels when they moved in to new homes
  • gave guests mindfulness resources to help them relax
  • made thousands of hot drinks including sleep-easy tea and hot chocolate
  • was supported by hundreds of local churches, groups, organisations and individuals

First 8 weeks

Our shelter opened on 11/10/18 – eight weeks earlier than usual – thanks to some Government funding. During this time we have used the St Nicholas Centre as our single venue.

During these 8 weeks, 84 individuals made an enquiry about using our shelter (compared to 74 individuals during the whole of last winter):

  • 30 of these individuals did not take their enquiry any further (because they found alternative accommodation or decided they didn’t want to stay with us)
  • 20 of these individuals did not meet our criteria (we have to assess the risks posed by potential guests to make sure that our shelter is the right place for them)
  • 34 of these individuals met us to talk about staying with us (compared to 40 during the whole of last winter)

28 of the 34 people who met us have stayed in our shelter. Last winter 34 guests used our shelter in total. Some people haven’t used our shelter even though we offered them a bed. Some people were not offered a bed.

  • 8 of our guests have already moved out of the shelter in to supported accommodation
  • 1 of our guests is waiting to move in to supported accommodation
  • 1 of our guests is waiting to hear whether he will be offered supported accommodation
  • 8 guests have left the shelter (either because they chose to or because they couldn’t stick to our  guest agreement)
  • 2 people have already come back to our shelter for their second stay

We are looking forward to providing safe shelter, lots of hope and genuine hospitality to more people in need over the coming weeks and months. We will run every night until March 12th 2019. From now on, we will be almost completely reliant on donations from local individuals, churches, groups and companies in order to keep running. Click here to see how to make a donation.

Vacancy at the Selig (Suffolk) office

We have created a new and permanent staff role to provide coordination at our office. This role will be part time (24 to 30 hours a week over at least 4 days).

This role sits alongside our other part time coordination roles; two Empowerment Workers for our Hope into Action homes and two Empowerment Workers for the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter. All of these roles report to our Business Manager. All of them coordinate a team of volunteers (or paid Shelter Assistants).

Please click here to see a full Job Description.

If you would like to apply, please send a copy of your CV to Julia Hancock via julia @ selig.org.uk.

The closing date is Friday 28th December (at 12 noon).




New Shelter Staff

We have appointed two new dedicated (part time) shelter staff;
Sally Abbott – Volunteer Empowerment Worker
Sally was a shelter assistant and volunteer cook last year and she has been involved in our shelter and in Hackney Winter Night Shelter for many years. Sally also has catering experience. Sally will be supporting all of our volunteers and venue coordinators throughout the winter
Clare Jessup – Guest Empowerment Worker – Clare has been coordinating the Selig office since last November. Prior to that she provided specialist support and training to vulnerable young families. Clare is also the coordinator for Felixstowe Town Pastors. Clare will be supporting all of our guests and shelter assistants throughout the winter.
We have also appointed a team of Shelter Assistants to help with checking guests in and out of the shelter every evening/morning;
Linda Perkins – Linda is one of our Hope into Action Empowerment Workers, responsible for our Ipswich Hope into Action house. Linda was one of our shelter assistants last winter. Linda is part of the congregation of one of the shelter host churches.
Jacqui Goodwin – Jacqui works for Just42, a local Christian youth and children’s charity working in and around Woodbridge. Jacqui was one of our shelter assistants last winter.
Finter Rose – Finter is an experienced Ipswich Winter Night Shelter volunteer and Team Leader and he is part of the congregation of one of the shelter host churches.
Kay Guest – Kay is an experienced teacher. She is keen to use her experience and skills to make a difference in another field.
Barbara Willingham – Barbara is an experienced Ipswich Winter Night Shelter volunteer and she is also the coordinator for Ipswich Town Pastors. Barbara is part of the congregation of one of the shelter host churches.
Dawn Lynch – Dawn has decades of experience of working with and caring for vulnerable adults. She is part of the congregation of a local Baptist Church.
Nigel Isgrove – Nigel is an experienced Ipswich Winter Night Shelter volunteer. He has decades of experience of Police work.

Recruiting Shelter Assistants



***UPDATE – all of the vacancies below have been filled***

Building on the success of our pilot last year, we are recruiting some paid Shelter Assistants. They will work in pairs to check guests in/out of the shelter. Shelter Assistants will each work a minimum of three shifts per week/fortnight. These posts will run from October to Mid March. We will provide cover for holidays. There are 4 vacancies:

Vacancy 1 – Monday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Tuesday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Wednesday 7.30 am to 9.00/9.30 am (either every week or every other week)

Vacancy 2 –  Wednesday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Thursday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Friday 7.30 am to 9.00/9.30 am (either every week or every other week)

Vacancy 3 –  Friday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Saturday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Sunday 7.30 am to 9.00/9.30 am (every other week)

Vacancy 4 – Saturday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Sunday 5.30 to 8.00 pm, Monday 7.30 am to 9.00/9.30 am (every other week)



Extra 8 weeks

In April 2018 we were invited by Ipswich Borough Council to meet with staff from the Ministry of Housing Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government – along with a handful of other organisations.

Following that meeting we have worked with the Ministry and the Council to develop a plan that will enable us to open the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter for an additional 8 weeks this winter.

We usually open the shelter in early December. This year we will be opening in mid October. We will run every night until mid March (including throughout Christmas and New Year).

These additional 8 weeks have been made possible because of the loyal commitment of our wonderful volunteers and some funding support from the Ministry (via the Council).

We are excited about this opportunity to provide shelter, hospitality and hope to more people this winter. We will need lots of support from local churches, groups, companies and individuals. If you would like to make a donation towards the shelter please click here.

We will also need more volunteers. If you would like to join our team of volunteers please click here to see how to apply.



Recruiting staff

***UPDATE – the posts have both been filled***

We are excited to be recruiting two part time positions to work in our night shelter.

Staff News

Marlene Scrivener, our full time Support Worker, will be leaving us in May to take up an exciting new position. She has been appointed as the Centre Manager at Talitha Koum. Since joining us in October 2016, Marlene has worked tirelessly to provide our volunteers and guests with a vast range of support.

Marlene has helped to train over 200 of our night shelter volunteers by sharing her experience of and insights into providing support to vulnerable adults. She has worked alongside volunteers at the shelter, assessing guests when they arrive in the evening to make sure that volunteers will be safe. Marlene has sought the well-being of our volunteers in all that she has done.

Marlene has carried out face to face assessments with 71 potential guests over the last 2 winters. She has worked with a wide range of local organisations to assess the suitability of these guests for our shelter. She has provided 66 guests with individually tailored help and assistance. Marlene has helped guests get to the shelter, accompanied guests to meetings and interviews, helped guests apply for benefits, found creative solutions for guests, advocated for guests and championed their dignity and freedom of choice. She has carried them in her heart.

I cannot imagine having worked through my first two winter night shelter seasons with anyone else. We have worked seamlessly together and we have enjoyed learning together.

But, as much as we mourn her loss, we are delighted that she has been appointed to such an exciting role. Our loss is very much Talitha Koum’s gain and we look forward to working with Marlene in her new role.

Julia Hancock – Selig (Suffolk) Trust Business Manager





Food Hygiene

Image result for ipswich borough council

We are delighted that our contact in the Environmental Health Department at Ipswich Borough Council has approved our updated Food Hygiene Policy.

Our work to gain accreditation with Housing Justice meant that we updated our Food Hygiene Policy so we sent a copy of the updated policy to the Environmental Health Department at Ipswich Borough Council. They suggested that we incorporate the checklist that they had devised for use by the Ipswich Soup Kitchen. They also suggested some updates to reflect changes in practice.

We sent the final amended version back to them and they replied to let us know that it covers all the main areas. They also wished us luck with this season.


Our Partners

We work with lots of local organisations in order to find and support our night shelter guests. All of our guests need to go through our booking process in order to stay with us. This starts by asking one of our Booking Partners to make a request. We then risk assess each potential guest before meeting them for a face to face assessment.

Our Booking Partners are:

The Chapman Centre at 1 Black Horse Lane, Ipswich. Open 10.00 to 14.00, Monday to Friday.  They help with finding accommodation and/or understanding benefits. They have a computer, a phone and shower facilities. A hot home-cooked lunch costing is available most days.  Tel. 01473 232426.

Housing Options Team at Ipswich Borough Council. They offer housing advice and assistance. Tel. 01473 433033. If someone has nowhere to sleep that night, Housing Options can be accessed in person via the Town Hall on Princes Street before 16.00.

Turning Point at 17-19 Museum Street, Ipswich. Open Monday to Friday (except Tuesday) 10.00 to 15.00, (Tuesday 13.00 to 15.00). They provide free drug/alcohol services for adults and young people.  Tel. 0300 123 0872

Health Outreach Team (NHS) at 70 – 74 St. Helen’s Street, Ipswich.  Open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 17.00. Providing marginalised and vulnerable adults with treatment, information and advice on health related issues plus supported access to GP’s. Tel. 01473 341763


In addition, we are also working with the following organisations (who have all made booking requests on behalf of their clients this winter):

St Giles Trust (who offer support to ex-offenders in Ipswich to help them access education, training, volunteering and employment opportunities)

Ipswich Hospital (via their specialist clinical recovery team)

Probation (both the National Probation Service who work with high risk offenders and the local Community Rehabilitation Company who work with low and medium risk adult offenders) .

Anglia Care Trust (who provide a wide range of housing and support via a network of local services)

Home Group (who provide casework support for those in need of supported housing and who are supporting a couple of our guests)


We also work with the following open access services that are used by those who are homeless. All of these have leaflets that they can give out with information about how people can request to stay with us;

Homehub Ipswich (runs a drop-in cafe on Mondays and Fridays providing breakfast, lunch and other services)

Tiffers Charity Shop and Bus Shelter (provides free clothes for those who are homeless plus shelter for up to 5 people at any one time)

Ipswich Soup Kitchen (provides hot drinks and sandwiches every single day of the year except Christmas Day – when other services provide a hot meal)

Elevenses and Feet on the Street (run by Burlington Church to provide hot drinks and food on Saturday and Sunday mornings)

Ipswich Town Pastors (providing help and support to vulnerable people on Friday and Saturday nights)

Helping Hands Suffolk (providing hot drinks and essential items to those in need)