Bracknell Night Shelter and Drop In
Since 2015, EBC have worked with other churches in Bracknell to support the Night Shelter which is run by Pilgrim Hearts.
Anyone in the Bracknell area is able to be referred to the Night Shelter by agencies such as the CAB, Drop In Centre (run by Pilgrim Hearts), the Foodbank, Police and Bracknell Forest Council. There are clear guidelines which anyone being referred must accept and these help to ensure that the Shelter is run with the minimum chance of trouble or disruption.
Anyone referred to the Night Shelter becomes a guest and is treated as such.
During the winter months, churches have a set night each week when guests come and have a hot meal, a warm bed and breakfast the next morning before going off for the day.
In 2015/2016, this was tried for the first time in Bracknell. It ran through January and February and was a great success.
In 2016/2017, it was run for four months – December till the end of March. During that time 42 people were referred and each night had between 10 and 17 guests.
Numbers continued to rise and in 2019/2020, over 100 people applied for tickets to use the Night Shelter. The average number of people who actually used it each night was 20.
At the beginning of 2020 a Night Shelter was started in Wokingham under the umbrella of Pilgrim Hearts. This ran for two months as a trial and was run in the same way as the Bracknell Night Shelter. This was a huge success and we plan to continue this when current circumstances allow.
Because of Coronavirus restrictions, the Night Shelters had to close for the winter of 2020/2021 and have remained closed. Most of our guests have been housed due to funding being made available. The Night Shelters stay under review and will open again when there is a need for that to happen.
There is still ongoing support for our guests and the Drop In continues to open on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes. The Drop In is open between 11.00am and 2.00pm at St Andrews Church on a Tuesday and Bracknell Methodist Church on a Thursday. We are working with Meals from Marlow (tomkerridge.com) and each week have meals delivered to the Drop In for us to use. These meals are also distributed to others who would benefit from them.
The Night Shelter and Drop In cannot run without volunteers and 240 people volunteered to be involved with the last Night Shelter. Volunteers have many roles. They cook, set out tables for meals, set up beds, wash up, clear down everything afterwards and spend time talking to our guests. Volunteers are invaluable. Anyone wishing to volunteer should complete a volunteer application form. This can be found by clicking here.
You can find out more about Pilgrim Hearts, the Night Shelter and the Drop In Centre by clicking here.