After 10 years under the guardianship of YMCA St Paul’s Group, Merton Winter Night Shelter (MWNS) has merged with local registered charity Faith in Action Merton Homelessness Project (FiA).
FiA’s Trustees will assume overall responsibility for the Night Shelter, with its day-to-day operation of providing emergency shelter for street sleepers during the coldest winter months continuing to be overseen by the existing Night Shelter management team.
The two services are already well aligned. FiA operates a twice-weekly Drop-in for homeless and vulnerably-housed local people, and has long been a supporter of the Shelter – providing space for assessments and case work as well as referrals, and plenty of moral support. There are many mutual volunteers that have consistently given their time for both the FiA Drop-in and the Shelter. And many Shelter guests are also people who receive support from the Drop-in.
Under the YMCA ‘s care and support, MWNS has grown and together with FiA will continue to work in partnership with the YMCA providing move-on options for Shelter guests in many cases.
FiA and MWNS are both excited by the coming together of two of Merton’s principal services for homeless people, and are confident that the merger will significantly improve the support offered to some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Merton Winter Night Shelter provides much needed emergency shelter, warm hospitality, and professional support to those who need it most in the coldest winter months. The last couple of years in the life of the Shelter have seen unprecedented change and challenge, as the team of community volunteers and YMCA staff worked hard to find alternative ways to run the scheme during the pandemic. From a rotating model, moving from venue to venue each night, to a short stop at one church for a few nights, before guests were moved into hotels at the start of the first lockdown in 2020, and then running a very different set-up from a flat in a Wimbledon church building in 2021, it has been a time of challenge, reflection, growth and learning.
Faith in Action Merton Homelessness Project (FiA) has been the principal homelessness charity in the London Borough of Merton for more than 15 years. Its Drop-in in Kingston Road, Wimbledon welcomes street sleepers and vulnerably-housed people from Merton and neighbouring boroughs, offering hot food, shower and laundry facilities, internet access and tailored professional assistance on accommodation, job searches and benefit claims. Through its links with other local agencies, FiA also helps with access to local statutory and voluntary services such as Community Drug & Alcohol teams, mental and other health services, Street Link, Merton Council housing services and the Merton Winter Night Shelter. For more information and to donate, go to mertonfaithinaction.org