VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT IS LIVE FOR WINTER 2021-22!
Thank you so much for your interest in volunteering with us to help the homeless, we can only do what we do because of the goodwill of wonderful volunteers from across Milton Keynes and those who give to support this work. We are so pleased to be able to work towards opening our Night Shelter again this winter, which will be open during the coldest months of the year, January to March, alongside other elements of wraparound care. Every year our guests tell us how grateful they are to find support like this when they are at a point of crisis, and the kindness and compassion of our volunteers lifts their spirits when they are at their lowest. Every year too we have volunteers tell us how much volunteering enriches their life and how much they enjoyed their experience.
There are a few important things we need to tell you about, so please bear with it and read through until you reach the application form further down this page.
Our welfare team’s caseload it at a record high and they are currently helping more than 100 individuals who come to us for support, the majority of whom are homeless or in unsuitable living situations. We work with our homeless guests to provide support and pathways out of homeless into longer term accommodation and our volunteer-led services all work alongside this to provide a vital package of care.
The application form lists available roles along with the locations and shift times; we hope you find an area in which you are able to serve. Before you sign up and indicate your availability, we would like you to be aware of the following points:
- The WNSMK is a volunteer-led operation with a small part-time staff team facilitating what we do. Our ability to offer any element of our provision is dependent upon enough volunteers stepping forward to fill the necessary roles.
- We have designed our services and their operating procedures very carefully, with safety and Covid precautions as paramount considerations in light of guidance from government and Public Health England, which we continue to monitor closely in readiness to respond to any changes. We encourage everyone to get the vaccinations to which they are entitled and we also link with the NHS to assist the homeless to access vaccinations. Our precautionary measures include use of masks, sanitizer, enhanced cleaning procedures, LFD testing for both volunteers and guests, considerations to fresh air flow and procedures relating to positive or close contact cases. This is important to keep everybody safe, especially the vulnerable people we help, as it is common for homeless people to have compromised immune systems and/or be prone to respiratory problems due to the conditions of rough sleeping.
- This year we need to fill a lot of additional cleaning roles as part of our Covid precautions. These are essential and if not enough people volunteer to help with cleaning then we may be unable to offer certain elements of our provision, so we would encourage you to volunteer for the greater good, even if cleaning is not your favourite thing! Once teams are established it may be possible for duties to be shared or rotated within the team over time.
- We are still operating in a very uncertain environment and our ability to move forward with even the best laid plans will also depend on factors outside of our control, such as changes to government advice/restrictions and decisions taken by the Council regarding their own operations this winter.
We are also recruiting a bank of ad hoc reserve volunteers to be available to help on a more occasional basis if regular volunteers are unable to attend. If you would like to help but cannot commit to regular attendance then please select ‘Other’ under the available options for frequency of volunteering.
We hope you are able to join us this winter as we seek to support the homeless and vulnerable and help them to rebuild their lives. Thank you.
We are currently recruiting for:
The Night Shelter (supervised overnight accommodation)
This will be a redesigned night shelter service for rough sleepers shared between four venues in the city (rather than the 14 churches and community centres that usually partner with us). This is to allow for use of the larger venues (to allow for distancing between guests and/or use of multiple rooms) with reduced rotation. Our active venues this year are the Ridgeway Centre (Wolverton), Newport Pagnell Baptist Church, Water Eaton Churches Centre (Bletchley) and Christ the Vine (Coffee Hall).
Our homeless guests gather at our evening reception café at Unity Park Station (the old bus station), which allows them to get warm, have refreshments and spend time in supportive company before they are driven to the overnight venue and brought back early in the morning. To run the overnight shelter we require volunteers to be based at our church venues to clean, set up beds, cook evening meals, meet and greet/socialise, supervise overnight, pack down, clean and launder bedding.
Night owls and early risers are always needed! For further details please see the registration form.
Thank you for supporting the homeless in this way.
Reception café and base for daytime support services:
Unity Park Station (formerly The Old Bus Station), 401 Elder Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 1LR.
The Ridgeway Centre, Featherstone Road, Wolverton Mill South, Milton Keynes, MK12 5TH.
Charity Reference No. 1149480
Registered Company No. 08232340