Homelessness in Bristol is a cause I care deeply about because it represents one of the most vulnerable sections of society. The picture in my profile is me with the food donations I manage to collect last year when I was running the homeless feeding programme in my church. I am currently raising funds to sponsor my shift at the night shelter run by a partnership between Caring in Bristol and St Mungo's on 1 April (this is not a prank!).
The night shelter houses 15 guests referred to Caring in Bristol by the St Mungo's Outreach Team. Without at least two volunteers on shift, the shelter cannot open for safety reasons. Hence, 1 night of volunteering can keep 8 people of the streets and back towards a home. I volunteered monthly at this night shelter when I was in university but had to stop when I commenced my training contract at OC. This is because each shift leaves me exhausted and unable to function normally the next day. However, as this cause is still close to my heart, I am committed to giving up this weekend to volunteer and fundraise for the project.
The shift starts at 10pm in the evening and ends at 7.30am the next morning. There must be at least one volunteer awake at any point of time and hence, the two volunteers will allocate between themselves when to sleep. From past experiences, I have only gotten intermittent sleep. This is because my "bed" is a blanket placed on a table and the facilities are freezing cold (even with many layers and a hot water bottle). It is a humbling experience to realise that these are the conditions homeless people have to endure every night.
The shelter really needs donations as it has to hire agency workers to cover the shifts where there are not enough volunteers and to ensure sufficient bedding is provided for guests. Osborne Clarke has agreed to match my fundraising up to £250, I would really appreciate any contributions.
Here is a link to Caring in Bristol's website if you would like more information: http://caringinbristol.co.uk/volunteer-shelter-friends-meeting-house/