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Give up your time to help Mansfield’s homeless community

If you want to help Mansfield’s homeless community, one of the best ways is to give your time.

Mansfield’s Winter Night Shelter, which will be open seven nights a week from 1 December to the end of February, is looking for volunteers to support the staff who will work there during the night.

Extra help is needed each evening from 8pm to 10pm to help set up and from 6am to 8am each morning to help tidy away. Duties could include signing people in, getting bedding ready and serving food and drinks.

Mansfield District Council is working with local churches and Derby City Mission to expand the night shelter so it will be open for a total of 90 nights – an increase from the 54 nights it was open last year.

There are currently five venues confirmed to host the night shelter on a rota basis – The Stanhope Centre, The Beacon, Chesterfield Road South Methodist Church, Mansfield Baptist Church and St Mark’s Church.

Volunteers don’t need any experience or qualifications as full training will be provided. Volunteers can attend one of two training sessions – on 8 November at the Baptist Church, Rosemary Street, at 6.30pm or 15 November at Chesterfield Road South Methodist Church at 6.30pm. To volunteer, call 07814541643 / 07983506037, email: homelessenquiries@mansfield.gov.uk or just turn up to one of the sessions.  

One of last year’s volunteers, John, said: “All you need is a kind heart and a non-judgmental attitude.

“It is a privilege to work alongside these people who are struggling, often through no fault of their own. They are the most courteous group of people you will ever meet and are very grateful for what we are doing for them and they appreciate all the facilities being provided.”

John, who is planning to volunteer again this year, said: “You don’t need any experience and don’t have to commit to ten shifts a week but put it in your diary so people know you can be relied upon.”

Cllr Barry Answer, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: “The night shelter is a very important part of the work we do for our street homeless all year round.

“It allows us to work with some of the hardest to reach individuals in the district, giving them a safe, clean and warm place to sleep and hot food to eat in the coldest months. But more importantly they will be offered a wide range of help and support to get into housing and turn their lives around.  

“The difficulty is that not all of those who are homeless are willing to accept the help that is offered – but that is their choice and we will continue to do all we can to support them.”

In addition to the winter night shelter, the council’s specialist Outreach Workers are out on the district’s streets every week of the year actively looking for and trying to engage with rough sleepers to help them access the many services that are available.

If you see someone who is homeless, please contact the Framework Street Outreach 24-hour hotline on 0800 066 5356, to ensure they are offered the necessary support.

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