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.

Here’s another personal story from one of the people helping to bring a bit of warmth and comfort to those who need somewhere to get out of the cold this winter.

“Last night I was a volunteer at the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter.

The staff team and volunteers had a quick meeting and before I knew it I was helping to lay out sleeping bags, blankets and pillows for anyone who might turn up.

A lady arrived pulling a small suitcase which held all her possessions.  That really struck me. Imagine fitting everything you own into one small bag? She agreed to complete some paperwork. I took her date of birth and acknowledged that it was her birthday just the other day.  She smiled with the sweetest smile and said I was the first to say happy birthday.  I could feel my eyes fill up.  We got chatting and she told me of her journey from South Africa to Scotland and recently to Glasgow.  She has been homeless for 3 months. After a few rounds of tea and some interesting chat I showed her to the plastic covered mattress that would be her bed for the night. I gave her some blankets and a sleeping bag and asked if she was ok. She kept saying thank you over and over and was genuinely pleased with her emergency shelter for the night.  You would have thought I had given her the keys to a room in the Hilton.

The team of volunteers and staff were great; some had their own past experience of addictions and homelessness.  No one judged; nothing was too much. I felt safe and happy to help, yet humbled and saddened to see that people from the same city as me had completely different lives.

Two guys appeared just before 11pm. They were regulars and well-known to the staff.  One went for a shave and the other lay down.  They looked much older than their years and their physical health was poor as a result of their homelessness and addictions.

The last person I took details from was a lady in her 40’s. She didn’t turn up with a bag. She only had what she was wearing.  She told me she hadn’t eaten for 3 days so she welcomed the food and hot chocolate that was on offer.

The lights dimmed at midnight giving people the opportunity to get some rest.  I left saying my goodbyes and the little lady with the sweetest smile took time to say thank you and that she was so happy to be somewhere warm and safe. I shook her hand. I don’t think I will ever forget her smile.”