The Glasgow Winter Night Shelter is based at the Shieling building on McAlpine Street off The Broomielaw to give people sleeping on the streets a warm place to go for a night.

The Shelter will be providing mats and sleeping bags for the night, in a warm and safe space, together with snacks and hot drinks, and is running through the worst of the winter months.

Staffed by full time workers at the Glasgow City Mission and a dedicated team of trained volunteers, the service opened its doors at 10pm on Sunday 2nd of December.

Throughout the months it is open we’ll be hearing from people involved in the operation of the service.

One of our volunteers gives us an insight into how the shelter is helping people during her shift:

 

“My car dashboard read minus 5 degrees last night as I arrived to start a volunteer shift at the Glasgow Winter Shelter lying in the shadow of Glasgow’s ‘financial district’. I was cold waiting for someone to answer the door to me. I couldn’t imagine an entire night on the streets in such bitter conditions.

I work for a national charity with homeless services but am more likely to sit at a desk than help lay out sleeping bags. Last night was the first time I experienced the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter and got to meet some of the people who use it.

One man in his late twenties had been thrown out of his friend’s flat after an argument and was experiencing ‘rooflessness’ for the first time in his life. He looked younger than his years, had a learning disability and seemed vulnerable. He said he had spent the previous night in a doorway and had been so cold that at points he feared he might die.

A woman in her thirties was fleeing domestic violence. She had spent the day at Glasgow Women’s Aid and was using the Winter Shelter for the second night in a row. We talked about the donated supermarket sandwiches and agreed that we would never fight over the same one given our radically differing tastes. She loves prawns, I hate them.

Another man had spent long periods of his life battling alcohol and heroin addictions in between prison stints. He said his family had disowned him and that he was sick of living on the street. He wanted his life to change.

I left after midnight looking forward to simple comforts: a hot bath and a comfortable bed. The city looked different on the way home.”

 

The service is a partnership between some of the city’s charities and voluntary sector agencies including Glasgow City Mission who coordinate operations at the Shieling building, Turning Point Scotland, Blue Triangle Housing Association, Marie Trust, Glasgow Homelessness Network, Glasgow Housing Association, Glasgow Simon Community, Gowrie Care, Emmaus, Shelter Scotland, Aspire and Lodging House Mission.