Volunteers sought for winter shelter scheme

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Volunteers are being sought to help with proposals for an emergency shelter in Daventry for rough sleepers during extreme winter weather.

Daventry District Council (DDC) is working with Daventry Methodist Church on the possibility of setting up a temporary shelter at the church in Golding Close for rough sleepers when the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is triggered – this is when temperatures stay below freezing for three consecutive nights or more.

Rough sleepers not only include people bedding down in the open air, but also those sleeping in buildings not designed for habitation such as cars, sheds or barns.

With a lack of emergency accommodation locally, the Council currently has to find places further afield to help rough sleepers off the streets in freezing temperatures, which are problematic for them to get to and can take them away from other support services accessible in the town.

Plans are now under way to set up a SWEP shelter at the Methodist church and an appeal has been made for volunteers to help run the shelter during the night.

Councillor Richard Auger, Housing and Environmental Health Portfolio Holder at Daventry District Council said: “The Severe Weather Protocol is crucial during periods of extreme cold weather to stop people from dying of cold on the streets. During last year’s harsh winter it was triggered a number of times, in some instances lasting over a week.

“We don’t have a significant number of rough sleepers in our area but must ensure we help those who are here as best we can. A lack of emergency accommodation locally means sending them further afield, which they struggle to get to, so this SWEP shelter would ensure immediate help exactly where it is needed.

“We are working with the church to set this up but with the winter nights quickly drawing in and getting colder we are still in need of volunteers to help us get this off the ground.”

In order to open, the shelter requires at least two volunteers per night. For more information about getting involved email homechoice@daventrydc.gov.uk