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Winter Shelter

overnight accommodation for the winter
catching lives winter shelter

What is The Winter Shelter?

During the winter, Catching Lives works alongside other agencies, such as Canterbury City Council offer a form of emergency accommodation under Winter Provision to as many rough sleepers as possible, giving opportunities to work with such individuals to try and find more permanent housing options for those who want it.

2020 - 2021 Winter Shelter

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that this winter we were unable to operate our usual Canterbury Community Shelter, as clients staying would have been sleeping in a church hall, sharing the airspace, and therefore at risk of catching and spreading the covid-19 virus. We explained to Canterbury City Council at an early stage that we would not have the funds to secure a venue at which all those staying would have their own rooms.
The outcome was that Canterbury City Council were able to negotiate a licence to occupy all the rooms at the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) building on New Dover Road from 14th December 2020 to 27th February 2021, meaning that 17 rooms were available for rough sleepers to occupy. This included their own shower and toilet facilities so they did not have to share with anyone else.


Assessments for rooms were carried out by Catching Lives Project Workers at the Canterbury Open Day Centre on Station Road East. Those allocated a room were able to keep it until they either found other suitable accommodation to move into, or had to leave due to serious behavioural issues that would have put the safety of others at risk.


Read the full 2020 to 2021 report here.

winter shelter provision

How Does The Shelter Work?


To register for the shelter people are able to visit our daycentre on Station Road East and speak to a staff member there.

All potential guests must be with us by 11am if they want to be considered for a space that night. There are no new admissions over weekends (so a potential guest must be with us by 11am on a Friday if they wish to be considered for a space over the weekend).

If you are working for an organisation (statutory or charity), and wish to refer a service user to us, please contact ccs@catchinglives.org for a referral form and guidance first before they arrive.


CCS offers a service to those with Housing Related Support needs. This service is available for people who:

-Are 18 years and older (Anyone younger will be signposted to the local authority).

-Are not considered, after assessment, to be too high a risk to themselves, staff, volunteers or other clients, or to need more support than we can offer.

-Are considered safe and suitable for admission by the admissions staff (i.e. the CCS Co-ordinator, General Manager, or Project Workers) who have the authority to determine whether CCS is able to provide overnight accommodation to a prospective client.

-Are willing to accept a full Risk and Needs Assessment and a Mental Health Assessment and engage with support offered by staff and services during their stay.

The Shelter

The YHA was staffed by two catching Lives Project Workers in the evening, who welcomed the clients in and provided them with evening meals prepared by Catching Lives volunteers earlier in the day. Two staff members were on duty overnight (one Catching Lives Project Worker and one Serveco staff member). As with previous winters, the funding for the Catching Lives staff members came from usual sources, namely generous donations from Charitable Trusts and individuals within our community.

Those staying in the YHA could access from 5pm and had to leave at 8am the following morning.

Campaign Work

Campaign Kent CIC Social Policy Reports- Please also find reports compiled by Kelly Napier, director at Campaign Kent (and a Catching Lives trustee) with detailed case studies of some of the situations, for example hospital discharge to street homelessness, that our shelter guests faced this winter, and also an analysis of the data collected (and how it compares to last year).

There remain issues with the number of people being released from local prisons and hospitals without any where to stay and with the increased demand for private rented accommodation we are seeing a number of clients who have not been treated well by their landlords.


Canterbury Community Shelter can continue to make a difference with local people (such as our volunteers, donors or supporters) making real and measurable inroads on a local level, to a national problem. We couldn’t do it without your support.


If you would like any further information about the Canterbury Community Shelter you can email  ccs@catchinglives.org for details.