Volunteers sought ahead of Hatfield Night Shelter opening

PUBLISHED: 11:22 27 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:35 27 October 2017

Hatfield Night Shelter working group, L-R: Fr Darren Collins, Kay Fabiyi, Mark Brennan, Dominic Long, Mike Dyce, Chris Welsh, Mike Olugbenro, Sharman and Alan Pope. Image: Hatfield Night Shelter

Hatfield Night Shelter working group, L-R: Fr Darren Collins, Kay Fabiyi, Mark Brennan, Dominic Long, Mike Dyce, Chris Welsh, Mike Olugbenro, Sharman and Alan Pope. Image: Hatfield Night Shelter

Hatfield Night Shelter

With winter drawing in, Hatfield Night Shelter (HNS) is still looking for volunteers to complete its team.

The shelter is due to open its doors in a month’s time on November 27 at the Church of St Luke, with space for 10 vulnerable people to take refuge from the chilly nights.

One of the organisers, Chris Welsh, said: “At the moment we have approximately 60 people offering a range of different times, but we still need more.”

He said they particularly need people who can stay overnight, although this is not the only task.

“We’re looking for all kinds of skills - being able to offer haircuts, for example, or people who are nurses or first aiders.

“But the attitude of helping other people is the biggest skill really.”

The Hatfield Night Shelter is a joint effort between Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS), the borough council, local churches, Housing Justice, and the drug and alcohol charity Resolve.

As well as providing a safe place to sleep and hot meals, the shelter is focused on connecting its guests to essential services.

Chris said: “It’s not just a place to stay, it’s a place to change.

“People have a chance to engage with Resolve, the Citizens Advice Bureau, get benefits advice - a whole host of people that we’ll draw upon to help, if they’re seeking help.”

For its volunteer needs, three shifts need to be covered throughout the day and night, and the time commitment is whatever people can offer.

The shifts start at 6pm for setting up, through to 9am for clearing away.

At breakfast and dinner, the shifts are about engaging and eating with the guests, and helping direct them towards the partner services that HNS works with.

At night, volunteers take turns to sleep.

“You will always be working at least in pairs, so that you’ll never be on your own,” said Chris.

“We can answer any questions or concerns you might have - this is a tried and tested model that we’re using.”

All volunteers receive training and there will be an open evening soon to get all confirmed volunteers together.

To find out more, visit www.hatfieldnightshelter.co.uk.

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