Swindon Night Shelter, the charity which runs The Haven day centre for the homeless and vulnerably housed in the town, recently welcomed business owners to an open event to appeal for cash support.
The charity which is now in its 11th year, has seen massive growth over the last year and is desperately in need of financial support to keep up its work across all of its projects.
Business owners dropped into the Haven on Tuesday 10th September to see what the team have achieved since the drop in centre opened its door in January.
Representatives from companies including Asda, Bevirs Law and OrangeStripe OutSourcing attended. They were given a tour of the facilities by volunteers. Also attending were members of the town’s probation service and Wiltshire Police who all work collaboratively with Swindon Night Shelter and value the services offered.
Becky Davison, project leader for Swindon Night Shelter, said, “We’ve seen massive growth this year – sadly. There’s been a dramatic increase in homelessness. We’re blessed that Swindon in such a giving town. All of our guests are our brothers and sisters and we need to work together to support them.”
Swindon Night Shelter, a Christian-based charity, has several projects around the town which includes the Night Shelter itself in a local church, The Haven drop in centre, The Hub Shop & Café selling low cost goods to the community and also offering work experience opportunities to young people with learning difficulties, The Gate community cafe and the Hive, which is the distribution centre for donated goods.
The Haven provides shelter, food, a safe space, activities for the homeless in the town. Other agencies come into the Haven to support the work in partnership with the SNS team.
Since opening it has served almost 400 guests and of those 111 are new faces. Of those 111, 99 were rough sleepers.
Volunteer Dan said, “We have seen a rise in the number of temporary homeless where people are homeless due to the breakdown of a relationship, or who have been released from prison. We’ve also seen an increase in those who are homeless or vulnerably housed who are foreign nationals where English is not their first language.”
Although its early days for the centre, the team have worked to see 11 guests housed, 90 being mentored and there has been a 72 per cent rise in engagement with the probation service.
Kaci Luper, aged just 17, works with local company OrangeStripe OutSourcing which is offering book-keeping assistance to Swindon Night Shelter.
She said, “This has been such an eye-opener. I now know I have led a privileged life and really been sheltered from so much. Our business is stepping up to help this organisation continue to do its good work and I call on other businesses to provide consistent financial support to help them cover their basic bills and keep on helping vulnerable people.”
Swindon Council has gifted the Haven’s building until November, lease negotiations are underway however the charity needs to be financially sustainable to survive. Swindon Night Shelter is funded entirely by public donation of time, money, local grants and receives no funding from any public organisation to support its work.
To survive and be sustainable, the charity needs business partners to provide consistent cash funding to cover monthly costs. The team are looking for:
- A main partner of SNS – donating £1,000 a month which covers food and utility bills for the Haven per month helping rough sleepers enjoy warmth and safety.
- Official business partners – donating £500 a month covering the cost of a part-time coordinator for all of the donations received across the town.
- Associate business partners – donating £100 a month which makes a small, valuable and consistent contribution. It covers broadband costs allowing the homeless to access services, information and support online.
Swindon Night Shelter already has a group of local businesses which are ‘official suppliers’ providing valuable pro bono goods and services. These include Dennis Removals, Working Links, Fiona Scott Media, Smarter Media, the National Self Build and Renovation Centre, Asda, Tesco, Orchard Press, Dale Foods, Green Machine Computers, Krypton Environmental and Coop.
To find out more visit www.swindonnightshelter.uk/sponsorship-opportunities
Pictured above: Kaci from OrangeStripe Outsourcing