Dartford Churches Winter Shelter is a project aimed at helping homeless adults from Dartford to stay warm and safe during the cold winter nights, and to assist them with finding somewhere more permanent to live. The Shelter completed its fifth year of operation on 31 March 2019.
For 2020, we are aiming to run the shelter from 2nd January until 5th April 2020. As in 2019, the shelter will offer 12 beds per night, using 7 venues.
All guests have to undergo an initial interview/ assessment to determine their eligibility for a place. A waiting list will operate once the 12 bed limit has been reached.
Referral can be made through any statutory agency or church or by self-referral. We regret we are unable to take referrals direct from hospital or prison or from those outside the Dartford area.
Places were offered on a first come first serve basis to homeless male and female adults over the age of 18.
There is no charge to use the Winter Shelter, with all costs being met by a grant from Dartford Borough Council and donations from Dartford Churches, Dartford Lions and individuals eager to support the project.
The shelter moves nightly between seven different churches in the town, but all aim to provide the same level of care and support to those sleeping rough.
The shelter provided each guest with a hot meal, light entertainment, companionship, and a warm and comfortable place to sleep. Guests were also provided with breakfast in the morning.
All venues were no smoking, no alcohol and the guests all signed an agreement explaining the “rules”.
The gospel was “preached” by example only. Volunteers could answer questions about their faith and why we were doing what we were doing, but active evangelism was not allowed.
The Shelter aims to act as a bridge leading to more permanent accommodation for guests, by providing them with some stability before they moved into longer term accommodation through the active support of Porchlight, to which guests were referred following arrival at the shelter. The shelter also served as a hub which guests used to access key statutory services, such as health care and welfare benefits.
Volunteers were drawn from the various churches in Dartford and the surrounding area and many individuals from the local community. Training was provided and every volunteer was giving a printed handbook.
The project is managed by the (voluntary) Project Administrator with activities at each venue supervised by the church venue managers. The Administrator reports to the Shelter Steering Committee, which is made up of representatives from all the host churches and from other churches in the area.
How volunteers can help.
If you are able to give up 2 or 3 hours one evening a week we would love to have your help. Can you cook a meal for 15-20 people, help with breakfast or cleaning or stay overnight or help with laundry. If so please contact the Project Administrator.
- Sunday Net Church
- Monday The Salvation Army (for evening meal)
- City of David RCCG (overnight/breakfast)
- Tuesday Christ Church
- Wednesday Spital Street Methodist Church
- Thursday St Edmunds Church Living Well
- Friday St Vincents RC Church Hall
- Saturday The Brent Methodist Church