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

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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)

Winter 2017/18 – update after 5 weeks

The shelter has been running for just over 5 weeks and more people have asked to stay with us than ever before.

47 people have approached one of our Booking Partners to request a stay with us. These requests have been assessed and almost everyone has been offered the opportunity to meet with us to discuss a stay.

  • 20 people have stayed with us for at least one night
    • Of these 20;
      • 11 are current guests
      • 6 chose to end their stay with us
      • 1 was unable to fit within our structure so they have been accommodated in a hostel
      • 2 have been housed but are still invited to the shelter for dinner
  • 13 people did not turn up to meet us in order to discuss staying at our shelter
  • 10 people found somewhere else to stay rather than coming to our shelter
  • 3 people did not meet our criteria (we do not take guests with a high risk of violence)
  • 1 request has only just been received and is still being assessed

As a result of their stay with us this season, our guests have found work, made significant improvements to their health, been able to stay with us before having to sleep rough, worked with local organisations to get support with benefits and long term housing, signed up to get help with substance abuse, re-connected with their family and been referred for specialist treatment.

We know that our shelter is not a solution for everyone. Around a third of those who stay with us find that they cannot or do not want to continue their stay. Some people in need of shelter don’t ask to stay with us because they know that we are not right for them.

There are still people sleeping rough in Ipswich. Lots of local organisations and group exist to provide support for those who are homeless and we work with them to try and help where we can. We rely entirely on donations in order to provide the shelter. You can see how to make a donation to support our work here.



Recruiting staff for the 2017/18 season

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We are looking for people to join our team.

We are recruiting a team of paid Shelter Assistants. They will work with our staff to check guests in/out of the shelter. The Shelter Assistants will each work a minimum of two shifts per week. These shifts will be allocated in advance. Each shift will be 1.5 – 2 hours long.

Update 17/11/17: We are no longer accepting applications for these vacancies

Excellent level of accreditation

The Ipswich Winter Night Shelter has been awarded the Housing Justice Quality Mark accreditation of Excellent Practice Standard. This is the highest level of accreditation that they offer and it has been awarded to us in recognition of our commitment to serving those who find themselves homeless in Ipswich, our hard work and our excellent practice.

The Housing Justice Quality Mark is a set of quality standards designed to support and recognise Church and Community Night Shelters which achieve safe and effective practice.

The accreditation standards cover volunteer training, guest and volunteers’ health and safety, referrals and links with other homelessness agencies, and data collection and sharing.

Julia Hancock (Business Manage of the Selig (Suffolk) Trust – the registered charity behind the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter) says “we chose to become an accredited shelter because accreditation provides benefits to our guests, staff and volunteers. It also enables the local community, local authorities, funders and insurers to be confident that our shelter operates to a safe and effective standard in all that we do”.

Housing Justice Chief Executive, Kathy Mohan said: “We are delighted to welcome Ipswich Winter Night Shelter to the network of Housing Justice Quality Mark accredited Night Shelters. Church and Community Night Shelters are proving an effective response to homelessness across the country, providing shelter to people who might otherwise be forced to sleep on the street or sofa surf with friends or family. Many shelters are seeing the value of signing up to Housing Justice Quality Mark accreditation. More than 20 Church and Community Night Shelters have been through the rigorous assessment process across the country”