Called ‘Zero Nights’, the shelter offered housing advice, food, clothing and shelter whenever the temperature was predicted to drop below zero for three nights or more.
Along with its sister shelter in Wells, Zero Nights was open for a total of 9 nights and provided not only a safe warm place to sleep but also specialist support for moving off the streets.
22 different people made use of the two shelters, all of whom were subsequently housed.
Frome Town Council provided a start-up grant of £1872 and an evening drop-in facility plus storage space at the Town Hall.
38 local people trained as volunteer staff for the shelter, a Crowdfunder appeal quickly reached its target of £3000, and we were overwhelmed by donations of food, clothing and specialist services such as hairdressing or dog care: in some cases, too many to take up.
Local agencies Fair Frome, Routes, Mendip YMCA, The Bridge Café and the Community Police Team met together to help plan the scheme, and Elim Connect Centre provided professional housing advice services every night that the shelter was open.
An unexpected outcome of Zero Nights was the degree to which it increased awareness and discussion of homelessness in the town.
It provoked intense scrutiny and discussion in the press and on social media, with some Facebook posts reaching over 37,000 people.
We’re glad to report that a venue has since been identified for the shelter to continue over the winter of 2019-20, this time under the leadership of Elim Connect Centre with FHfF as a supporting partner.
If you’d like to volunteer at this year’s coldweather shelter, or make a financial donation, please contact Elim Connect Centre.
If you have non-perishable food or good quality sleeping bags and camping stoves to donate, please contact Fair Frome.
Please be aware that storage capacity for these larger items is limited.
Warm coats can be donated to the Frome Coat Rack next to the Community Fridge near the Library.
Find out more on their Facebook page.