London Cold Weather Shelters 2012/13

Caris Islington Churches Cold Weather Shelter  07913 020738

Winter shelter:
1 January to 31 March:  Monday–Sunday:  7:30pm–8:30am
Bathroom/showers Free food Laundry Outreach workers links
Age 18+; mixed; beds for 15 (separate area for women). Self- or agency referrals – phone first. Simple, genuine hospitality, respite from rough sleeping and an opportunity to engage support services.

Crisis Christmas  0844 251 0111
66 Commercial Street
London E1 6LT

Winter shelter:
23 December to 30 December: Wednesday–Wednesday: Open 24 hours. Accommodation advice Advocacy Bathroom/showers Bedding available Clothing Dentist Education & training Free food Internet access Leisure activities Outreach workers links Pavement stockists. Priority is given for rough sleepers; those with proven dependencies and vulnerable women. Details

Croydon Churches Floating Shelter  07860 270 278

Winter shelter:
1 November to 31 March: Monday–Sunday: 7:30pm–8am. Accommodation advice Food. Local referral only, 18+, mixed, dry, beds for 14, phone is switched off if there are no vacancies. Last admission 8pm.

Hackney Winter Night Shelter  07549 043 728
c/o St John-at-Hackney (office only)
Lower Clapton Road
London E5 0PD

Winter shelter:
1 January to 31 March:  Monday–Sunday: 8pm–8am (7pm on Sundays). Accommodation advice Advocacy Counselling Food Housing advice Outreach workers Outreach workers links Tenancy support. All beds must be reserved, so phone first (you will not be charged for this call) to see if one is available. Age 18+; mixed; beds for 25 (screened area for women); dry. Last admission 8.30pm. Agency or self-referrals. Part of Hackney Doorways.

West London Churches Winter Shelter  020 7351 4948

1 November to 1 April:  Monday–Sunday: 8pm–7am. Food Housing advice 18+, mixed, dry, beds for 35 (separate area for women), self-referral on a “first come, first served” basis – phone first. Last admission 8pm. Venues in Kensington

West London Day Centre  020 7569 5900
134-136 Seymour Place

Monday–Friday: 8:45am–10am (rough sleepers’ drop-in) Monday–Friday: 10am–11:30am (drop-in – hostel residents join) Monday–Thursday: 11:45am–12:45am (advice – appointments only) Monday & Thursday: 1:30pm–3:30pm (drop-in for those with tenancies). Art classes Bathroom/showers Benefits advice Clothing Counselling Food Internet access Laundry Luggage storage Medical facilities Outreach workers links Tenancy support

Westminster Churches Winter Shelter (WCWS)  020 7569 5900

1 December to 31 March: Monday–Sunday: 6:30pm–8am. 18+, mixed, beds for 15 (separate area for women), dry, no smoking, and referral from West London Day Centre only.

The Passage
St Vincent’s Centre
Carlisle Place
London SW1P 1NL

Operate a rolling Shelter.

Diary of a Hostel Worker

New Hostel Family

For the past few weeks we have been home to a local mother fox and her three offspring.

She has had her babies stashed under the garden shed at the back of our beautiful garden. One sunny afternoon whilst snatching a crafty smoke I heard the sound of yapping, and wondered if the neighbours at the back had got a new puppy.

Walking towards the corner,  I caught sight of a small ginger face peeping out from behind our tidy wooden shed. Two wide dark eyes were staring at me intently, a shiny brown nose twitched at my scent. I stood transfixed at the sight of the beautiful, fearless and fluffy fox cub.

The moment was short but sweet. Disturbed by Russell (the crow), the baby face disappeared back behind the shed.

News travelled fast and every recent breakfast has been filled with tales of sightings in the night and at dawn. Surreptitious gifts of chops, bacon and sausage left in the garden have tempted the family into view. This little family has brought delight and enchantment to many.

Thank you Mrs Fox

Diary of a Hostel Worker

On Road Off Road

Many of our residents have poor mobility, walking sticks, crutches and wheelchairs.

Some have body parts amputated.

Others have severe arthritis or rheumatism, exacerbated by uncomfortable nights spent on a hard, cold pavement bed.

Bobby has recently arrived at the hostel. He spent many years on the street sleeping rough – and so has his son. Bobby suffers from violent involuntary movements, as yet undiagnosed. He is unable to stand and has, up to now, propelled himself from place to place by sitting in his wheelchair and using his feet in a haphazard walking fashion. His feet also serve serve as a slightly unreliable braking system.

Enter the mobility scooter.

State of the art transport – this scooter is shiny and fast – Bobby’s eyes pop out of his head and the hugest smile in the world spreads across his face. Everbody comes to have a look. Metallic blue with curved go-faster lines, very impressive.

Bobby receives instruction so that he meets Health & Safety standards ! I’m not so sure he is listening as acutely as would ideally be desired. However a few trial laps in the car park help to allay anxiety. By gripping hold of the handlebars extra tightly, Bobby is able to control his spasming muscles and steer pretty much in the right direction. Breaking is a little more worrying. We hold our breath as Bobby’s concentrated fingers struggle to relax enough to work the controls. Just in time the scooter stops suddenly a few inches from the manager’s car.

The next day Bobby is raring to go – and we watch with fingers crossed as the scooter’s rear lights disappear around the corner.

Many, many hours later Bobby returns. With a shout he alerts us to his presence and I move to open the front door.

He has managed to get back but, by the look of it, not quite in one piece. The front bumper is trailing to one side, secured by a short length of electrical wiring. New shininess has been overtaken by dents and scratches. I look at Bobby who appears to be in one piece, thank heavens. He is highly intoxicated but sheepish. With the help of another worker we maneuvre the machine, with Bobby balanced on top in through the doors and into the foyer.

“I had a bit of an accident”

Bobby’s speech is usually slurred but tonight its hardly comprehensible.

“Brakes failed and I ran into a wall”

We check Bobby over and apart from an impending huge hangover in the morning, all seems ok. Bobby transfers his trembling body into the safety of his basic wheelchair, and scoots off to his room.

PS With absolutely no recall of the events of the previous night, Bobby tells me this morning that he must have bumped his electric scooter into the door of his bedroom as it seems to be a bit broken.

He also asks for 2 Paracetamol !

“When my scooter’s fixed I think I might go to Bournemouth on it” he announces.



Diary of a Hostel Worker

The Big Society – Can We Afford It?

Reality check day. Seems we are to be facing big cuts soon……… staff redundancies are imminent. A difficult day all round.

Teatime comes and with it a snaking line of clients move inevitably towards the meal trolley, where cook is  efficiently serving an appetising and healthy meal. It is a patient line today and the gentle hum of conversation and clanking of cutlery lulls me for a moment. My mind wanders and I imagine a different scene – I see a faded and cloudy vision of homeless people queuing, not in a pleasant and warm dining room, but instead under a cold and lifeless grey winter sky, swept by the elements

frightened and hungry.

I visualise Church volunteers and selfless individuals distributing blankets and sandwiches in a united effort to tempt life to remain amongst old bones and shattered minds…………….

I feel uncomfortable and firmly bring my attention back to the here and now.

What shape will the future form for our most needy and defenceless members of ‘The Big Society’?

Human beings forged by social policies that have contributed to their current predicament ………greedy profits stacked up by manufacturers of health killing alcoholic beverages designed to subordinate and overpower ……….breakdown of relationships> families ripped apart by media (and government) promoted “grass is always greener” ideology………’no society’ support following bereavement, depression, stress, illness, trauma or financial ruin………………


One man turns round and looks directly at me. It’s almost as if he senses the pain of my thoughts. I see trust in his eyes, a belief there will always be one of us workers there to support him in time of need.

As he walks past me holding tightly to his plate, he slows for a moment and brings his mouth to my ear.

“I don’t think I would still be alive if I hadn’t been rescued from the streets and brought here” he mutters.


We are one society – not big,  not small.

And what may be said of a society that turns its back on the most vulnerable of its members?

  • Calendar

    • February 2020
      M T W T F S S
      « Dec    
  • Search