Winter Beds Project 2020/21

Credit: Nic Madge

Winter Beds Project 2020/21

This Winter 2020/21 we are working with St Albans District Council and other partners to support anyone who finds themselves rough sleeping.

In previous years, The Winter Beds Project operated from Trinity Church and utilised a communal space for our guests to sleep in. As a result of Covid-19 we are not able to offer a communal sleeping arrangement to guests and we along with partner agencies looked into alternative options.

The Government announced a £10m Cold Weather Payment for councils, and an additional £2m fund for faith and community groups. The Winter Transformation Fund was available to local authorities to voluntary and community sector groups to transform spaces and make more self-contained emergency accommodation.

Due to the ongoing risk from Covid-19,  we looked into providing self contained accommodation for those experiencing homelessness this winter. Together with St Albans District Council and partners we thoroughly explored and exhausted all possible options before taking a decision to use Bunkabins Pods. Bunkabin is the leading supplier of site sleepers and portable welfare units, each unit comes complete with: Ensuite, Shower, Furniture, Beds and Heating.

With the support of St Albans City and District Council, Open Door obtained a £32,000 Government grant from its Winter Transformation scheme to build self-contained accommodation which have been constructed within the community at Emmaus St Albans.

We hope that the Winter Beds Project will offer more of St Albans’ rough sleepers a warm bed and a roof over their heads during periods of bad weather.

Lucy Gaygusuz  the Winter Beds Project Coordinator said:

“Winter Transformation Funding which has enabled us to open the Winter Beds Project in St Albans for the fourth year in a row.

“We have been working tirelessly to make sure that this year we can offer people who would otherwise be rough sleeping a safe, self-contained, COVID-secure space to sleep away from the streets.

“The Winter Beds Project has always been a volunteer led service and this year, despite the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves in, we have an amazing group of dedicated volunteers who are all ready to make sure no one in St Albans has to sleep rough this winter.”

This project has been supported by a number of local businesses and organisations including The Hygiene Bank Harpenden & St Albans and Morgan Sindall Construction who kindly provided materials, skips and plumbing for the project.

We are so grateful for all of the support of our volunteers over the past four years, the Winter Beds Project really has been a community effort.

Photo credit: Nic Madge