Pioneering Hackney homeless charity fundraises for Sunday shelter

HWNS link worker Rory Herbert receives cheque from Hackney Slimming World

HWNS link worker Rory Herbert receives cheque from Hackney Slimming World - Credit: Archant

A charity for the homeless is fundraising to open a day shelter on Sundays – a day rough sleepers find particularly lonely.

Hackney Winter Night Shelter, based in Tyssen Street, Dalston, is trying to raise £2,500 to provide somewhere for homeless people to go on what is traditionally seen as a day to spend with family.

Volunteer fundraiser Sarah Borwick, of Queen’s Drive, Finsbury Park, said: “Sunday is a notoriously difficult day to fill for our guests. It’s very long.

“We are looking at the day shelter as an extended winter refuge.

“We want to provide computers to help them with CVs and applications. It’s going to be a really great thing for us and our guests.”


The shelter traditionally provides night shelter to the homeless in the winter months. Last year, it provided nearly 3,000 beds, dinners and breakfasts to 78 different people over five months.

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Last year, the shelter received 932 enquiries for refuge but had to turn down 854.

The shelter also tries to re-house people. Last year, 19 guests moved on to permanent accommodation; eight moved in with family, friends or accommodation provided through work or clearing house; 21 people found places in a hostel; three returned to accommodation in their home area; nine found private rented housing, three were housed by their local authority and five moved into housing association properties.

Nine people started employment, including five who started full-time jobs and four who were able to find private rented accommodation using their wages.

Eight took part in training courses and 13 received helped with a substance misuse problem.

The shelter also provides a medical clinic on Sunday evenings and a regular legal clinic.

Cllr Ian Rathbone, who works with homeless people in Newham praised the project, saying: “It is a model for the rest of London. We advise people to go to Hackney to see how it’s done.”

There are only three paid members of staff at the shelter which is mainly run by 750 dedicated volunteers.