Search for new venue as Emmanuel House’s long-standing Night Shelter closes – but not for good

We’re searching for a new venue for our Night Shelter, which temporarily closed it doors on 30th June 2021.

Working with a third party, we’re looking to purchase a large property containing 15-25 bedrooms within the Nottingham city boundary or a building that can accommodate 20 bed spaces that are 2m apart. Enquiries can be sent to rosie.needhamsmith@emmanuelhouse.org.uk, which will be forwarded to the third party.

On 27th March 2020, the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative, part of its national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, instructed everyone who was sleeping rough or staying in a communal night shelter to transfer into single-room accommodation.

The Nottingham Night Shelter, which provided emergency accommodation for anyone over the age of 18 who found themselves homeless, was forced to close. Between March 2020 and June 2021, it operated from a local hotel, working in partnership with Nottingham City Council and other agencies, which also referred people to the accommodation.

Between 27th March 2020 and 30th June 2021, Emmanuel House provided 14,325 nights’ protection at the hotel for a total of 334 people, who would otherwise have been rough sleeping. Emmanuel House supported 179 of these people into accommodation, an average of 2.73 people a week for 65.5 weeks. People moved into a variety of accommodation including private-rented properties, hostels, supported accommodation, or were reconnected with friends or family.  

“The Night Shelter moving into a hotel was for emergency measures, but its provision has proved to be an outstanding success. It proves that single-room accommodation and wrap-around care is essential for helping people out of homelessness. It enabled us to provide consistent, 24-hour support for our guests, whilst meeting all their basic needs – they had their own washing facilities, access to three nutritious meals a day and access to continuous support.”

Denis Tully, CEO at Emmanuel House Support Centre

“The temporary closure of the Night Shelter does not mean the end of Emmanuel House’s vision for the all-round resettlement of homeless people. We want to take advantage of the new national opportunity to make an improved offer of accommodation and we are currently exploring a range of options that satisfy public health regulations for guests, volunteers and staff.”

Denis Tully, CEO at Emmanuel House Support Centre

Success of the hotel

“The Shelter saves lives during the harshest months of the year, providing people with a bed for the night and reducing the risks associated with sleeping out in minus temperatures.

Viv Dickinson, Shelter Manager at Emmanuel House

“Working from the hotel was certainly a challenge, but our support staff truly excelled. At times, our capacity doubled – we went from 20-25 camp beds in a church hall at night, to 24-hour support for 50 people in individual rooms.

Viv Dickinson, Shelter Manager at Emmanuel House

“The lockdown restrictions meant that there were no public spaces for our beneficiaries to get shelter, food or support during the day. Being able to stay at the hotel meant our beneficiaries didn’t have to be on the streets for 12 hours day during a public health crisis.”

Viv Dickinson, Shelter Manager at Emmanuel House

Community rallies together to provide food for rough sleepers

For the first 12 weeks of lockdown, the hotel provided beneficiaries with three meals a day. The food was then supplied by other charitable and voluntary organisations. As lockdown lifted, local restaurants, cafes and pubs volunteered to cook meals on their premises and deliver them to the hotel.

Viv added: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who provided food whilst we were at the hotel. It made a huge difference to the quality of the stay for each individual, by helping to meet some of their basic needs and taking away a little bit of stress from their day-to-day lives. The food provision enabled our staff to focus on the needs of our beneficiaries, knowing they could rely on daily deliveries of good quality, nutritious food. For this, we’re eternally grateful.”

Viv Dickinson, Shelter Manager at Emmanuel House

Legacy of the Night Shelter

The first Winter Shelter opened at Thomas Helwys Baptist Church for four weeks over Christmas 2006, sheltering 20 people a night on the church hall floor. Since then, the Night Shelter has expanded year by year, both in duration and volume. It extended first to twenty weeks and then all year round in 2019 with additional funding from Nottingham City Council. There was every expectation that the shelter would have continued through summer 2020 had it not been for the intervention of the coronavirus.

Graham Bowpitt, Trustee at Emmanuel House and Shelter Sub-Group Chair, said, “Thank you to all staff members who have heroically supported beneficiaries either during the years of the shelter or, more recently, day and night at the hotel.  Thank you to the army of volunteers who have turned out on dark winter nights and mornings to ensure beneficiaries are provided for. Thank you to the churches that have so generously lent us their premises to host the shelter repeatedly over many years. Thank you to the charitable foundations without whose generous funding the shelter would never have operated.”   

For more information about Emmanuel House Support Centre and the Night Shelter, please contact Marketing and Fundraising Officer Rosie Needham-Smith at rosie.needhamsmith@emmanuelhouse.org.uk or call 0115 950 7140.