A winter shelter in Hersham run by Transform Housing & Support has helped 14 homeless people in its first month of operation.
Our winter shelter opened on 5 January to provide shelter for homeless people from Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne who have nowhere else to go. Located in Hersham, the shelter gives homeless people a bed for the night, a hot meal and breakfast the next morning.
Running until the end of March, the nine-bed shelter is giving homeless people the chance to get off the streets during the coldest and wettest months of the year.
In the first month, the project has provided shelter for 14 homeless people. The majority had been sleeping rough, living in a tent or vehicle, or staying in homeless shelters outside their home borough. Several people had become homeless after their relationship with their partner broke down.
Colin Hughes, shelter manager at Transform, explained how the shelter operates:
“During the day we assess homeless people put forward for the winter shelter by our referring agency partners. When a homeless person first arrives at the shelter we show them around so they can see the facilities and the shared bedrooms. If they decide to stay we explain the shelter rules to them and they are booked in.
“We have a bathroom, laundry facilities and a stock of clothes, toiletries and towels available for those who need them. We serve a hot meal each evening and there is a small lounge where people can watch television or read. Generally people are tired and just want to get a good night’s sleep. In the morning we serve breakfast and then we close up the shelter for the day.”
Homeless people staying at the shelter are given specialist support to get off the streets for good. In January the shelter had a 70% success rate at supporting people to move to more permanent accommodation – including to other housing run by Transform. We provide housing for more than 550 homeless and vulnerable people across Surrey all year round.
The shelter is being operated in partnership with Elmbridge, Runnymede and Spelthorne borough councils and Rentstarts from the three boroughs. Significant funding is being provided by Walton Charity, the shelter premises is provided by Whiteley Village, and meals are donated by catering firm Caterplus.
In addition donations have been received from many individuals, local foodbanks, churches, Rotary clubs and companies including Wick Hill Ltd and Kia Motors UK.
Transform still needs to raise more than £1,000 to keep the shelter running until the end of March. To make a donation please visit our donation page.