Since 2015, Light Project Peterborough have been active in running and sourcing accommodation. We have been able to support people to move into temporary accommodation with the help of Peterborough City Council and other partners. Most people will secure a place at one of the city’s hostels or bed and breakfast until they can find a more permanent place.
To help progress people into more permanent accommodation, action plans are created with multi-agency support. Working with partners on this referral and move on is a key part of making this project a success.
For some people who have been sleeping out so long, it can be difficult to cope with the day to day pressures of running a home or room. Have I got a cooker or a fridge? Is the gas and electric set up? When does my next rent bill need to be paid? For some it is even strange to sleep on a bed after being out in a tent or a sleeping bag under the stars.
Where needed, we have given some guests emergency accommodation with one of our Night Shelter units.
The Peterborough Night Shelter project began in early February 2022 and involves providing emergency accommodation to help people move off the streets immediately. To make this project a success, we’ve worked hard with the UK central and local governments as well as Peterborough’s church communities. Their support allowed us to provide 1,134 nights of emergency shelter between April 2022 and March 2023. We were also delighted to see 19 people move on from the Night Shelter units and into their own accommodation.
Each unit caters for one person and contains a single bed, shower, toilet, sink, a window, storage, and radiators. Guests are also given an emergency contact number should they need immediate help from us during the night. Take a tour around one of our units.
We currently have seven units, all secured and located at four church sites: Southside Methodist Church, Peterborough International Christian Centre, Christ the Carpenter Dogsthorpe and most recently, Salvation Army Citadel. Listen to Simon, Vicar at Christ the Carpenter about their experience with supporting one of our guests, Marcel.
These church communities provide water and electricity for the units while volunteers prepare a meal every night to each guest as well as clean bedding and toiletries. In total, our amazing volunteers gave 1,764 hours of their time.
The Night Shelter project is different from all other accommodation as it does not rely on the complexities of housing benefits for people to be looked after. The shelter fills a real gap for those on the edge of society and in desperate need.
“Before the Night Shelter, I felt hopeless and started to give up my faith in God. But as soon as I stayed in one of the cabins, the church made me feel welcomed and I was given opportunities to get involved and be a part of the community.”
Maria (Night Shelter guest)