How It All Began
At the time the YMCA was the only viable option for many, and with their beds full a new solution was needed. A conference brought together people from various interested agencies to discuss the issue, and the concept of the Winter Night Shelter MK was born.
Due to Covid-19 we were unable to run our overnight accommodation provision during winter 2020–21. Here are our stats from the previous season (2019–20).
Meals Served Plus
people accommodated (73 men and 8 women)
guests assisted to move on to longer term accommodation
occupied beds across 14 different venues
guests successfully assisted to find employment opportunities
What We Do:
We support the homeless, vulnerable and those with mental health struggles in Milton Keynes by providing:
- temporary emergency accommodation (November–March)
- a dedicated welfare team providing year-round support
- access to showers and washing/drying facilities
- links to support agencies
- advice and support to find permanent accommodation
- pathways to employment.
During the winter months our guests are invited to arrive at our friendly reception café from 5.30pm, seven days a week. They will be welcomed by our welfare team and have time to settle in, sort and store their belongings, have hot drinks and a meal, and relax.
Around 8.30pm guests will be transported to an overnight venue. There they will be greeted by a team of trained volunteers who provide company and support, opportunities to relax and play games, and a warm bed for the night. In the morning guests are provided with hot drinks, a snack and transported back to the reception café for breakfast.
Unity Park Station (formerly the Old Bus Station) on Elder Gate now provides a year-round base for our welfare team and hosts an array of essential support services from partner organisations, including:
- legal and housing advice
- on-site addiction support
- access to food and clothing aid
- assistance obtaining ID and accessing bank accounts
- help with accommodation and employment applications
- life skills and employment skills training
- homelessness prevention initiatives.
Ultimately, we help our guests into more settled accommodation and support them to rebuild their lives. This might be through working with the Council, referrals to partners such as the YMCA, Bus Shelter MK or Emmaus, private accommodation and housing schemes.
We have a number of former guests who say they owe their lives to the Winter Night Shelter, and some have returned to volunteer to help others.
WNSMK Core Values
Altruistic: We will show unselfish concern for the welfare of others.
Pursuing excellence: We will do everything excellently, but not extravagantly.
Valuing: We honour, respect and value one another.
Authentic: We will be honest with one another.
Generous: We will be generous with one another.
Team-based: We build a strong team-based culture.
Everyone has their own story…
“When you’re on the streets it’s very, very tough on you physically and mentally, and by the time you arrive somewhere like here, where you feel safe, that is like a godsend.”
“If it wasn’t for the Winter Night Shelter I can honestly say, hand on heart, I don’t think I would be here, honestly I don’t. You probably would have found me in some gutter somewhere, and that’s the honest truth.”
“I feel very strongly that if I get back on my feet I would want to put something back to the WNS. I would want to be a volunteer or something.”
“One of the ways the WNS is helping me is giving me hope in something, I lost faith in everything in prison and now I’m starting to get a taste of it again.”
“It has a massive impact on my life, without it I’d be in some dangerous positions. The WNS oﬀers me refuge and takes me away from a lot of dangers.”
Charity Reference No: 1149480
Registered Company No: 08232340
Registered office: The Ridgeway Centre, Featherstone Road, Wolverton Mill South, Milton Keynes, MK12 5TH