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Winter Shelter

overnight accommodation for the winter
catching lives winter shelter

What is The Canterbury Community Shelter?

UPDATE- We regret to announce that this year’s winter shelter will be delayed. We hope to provide information about what will be happening as soon as possible.


Catching Lives will partner with 7 local churches to offer a form of emergency accommodation to as many rough sleepers as possible, giving them immediate shelter, and also opportunities to work with staff and volunteers to try and find more permanent housing options.

How you can help



To help our winter shelter run smoothly we require-

  • Kitchen volunteers (4:45pm-7:15pm) to cook an evening meal at our day centre
  • Volunteer Project Workers to support staff at the centre and walk to church venue with staff (5pm-8pm)
  • Evening volunteers (7:00pm-10:00pm) and Overnight volunteers (10:00 pm-7:30am)
    at various church venues
    to welcome the guests in and support staff

  • Volunteers with their own transport to take bedding to and from the venues (mornings and/or evenings) (7:45am and/or 6:30pm)


Please email Ruth if you are interested- volunteer@catchinglives.org


It will help if people can complete a Volunteer form in advance, which can be found here



Once people have had an induction and sent a form we will send them a link to sign up to any shifts they want to throughout the 3-month period we are running. (As in previous years anyone who can’t sign up to shifts online can contact us directly and we can book them in ourselves- technology shall not be a barrier!) 





In order to ensure we can keep the shelter open until the end of February we need your support. If you would like to help us raise funds for the winter shelter please email fundraising@catchinglives.org 


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 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.

-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 Coordinator or Project Workers) who have the authority to determine whether CCS is able to provide overnight accommodation to a prospective client.


The Shelter

Guests first attend Catching Lives’ day centre for an evening meal prepared by Catching Lives’ volunteers.

Staff will then walk with all guests to that night’s church hall where they will be able to sleep overnight in bedding we provide. Everyone then leaves at 8am the following day and returns to Catching Lives day centre to register for the next night if they wish to continue accessing. 

Two staff members are on duty overnight to support those who are staying. 

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.