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”


Improving policies and practice


We have been busy creating and updating policies using feedback from guests and volunteers. The aim of this work is to improve the service we provide for our guests. Examples of new practice next winter will include;

  • having systems to collect feedback from guests
  • using an updated food hygiene policy (approved by local Environmental Health)
  • improving the range of training we offer to our volunteers.





Report on last season

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For the last six years, the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter has provided safety and warmth. We have worked with local churches, volunteers, community groups, services and supporters to do this.

Please click this link to read a report covering the 2016/17 season:  IWNS Report 2016 17

Highlights include the fact that nine churches, 320 volunteers and 7 local supporting agencies came together with one shared vision. This resulted in 15 night shelter guests moving in to more suitable accommodation as a result of their stay.

Guests appreciated the increased support that our new staffing structure provided. One guest said “It’s not just having a roof over your head, it’s having staff to support you.”

We look forward to providing the shelter again this coming winter.

Picture credit: A Dark Tower

Selig (Suffolk) Staff Appointed

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Two new staff have been appointed by the Selig (Suffolk) Trust (the registered charity behind the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter).

Julia Hancock has been appointed as Selig’s full time Business Manager. Julia says “I am delighted to be working with Selig, using the management experience that I have gained in business and in four different charities. I look forward to working with the many wonderful organisations that support people who currently have no home. I also look forward to meeting and supporting the wonderful volunteers that run the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter.”

Marlene Scrivener has been appointed as Selig’s full time Support Worker. Marlene says “I am excited about the potential that my new role has to make a difference to the lives of marginalised individuals in Ipswich. I feel privileged to be learning more about them and about their hopes and goals.”

Julia and Marlene will both be at the volunteer training sessions that the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter is running during November. To apply to join the volunteer team, please click here.