THIS week, we are shouting about a night shelter that has spent the last decade helping rough sleepers around Swindon get a roof over their head and change their lives for the better.

The Swindon Night Shelter officially opened in St Mary’s Church in Cheney Manor on January 2 2009 and since then has grown to help more than 2,500 people in the Swindon area.

The charity's facilities now include The Haven day centre on Queens Drive, a cafe and fundraising centre, a social enterprise project called The Hub, and Gate cafes all over town.

Chairwoman Becky Davison said: “We were a group of Christians in the town centre who were part of the street pastors group, but when we noticed a considerable amount of homeless people we decided to come together and do something to help them.

“I think if we’d known how big this would end up being, we would have been a bit scared but it's been great to keep growing and meet the needs of every person through our doors with the resources we have.

"Everyone's path to homelessness is different and so is their path to housing and recovery, there is no one-size-fits-all scheme."

The charity helps an average of 12 people a year into housing while working with other agencies to assist people on social enterprise schemes and other facilities, and donates items to former rough sleepers moving into new homes.

Swindon Night Shelter relies entirely on donations and the tireless efforts of 120 volunteers to ensure its much-needed support can continue.

Becky added: "The hardest thing is always closing the doors at the end of the day and having to turn people away, we would stay open 24/7 if we could but it's a big challenge to keep this going.

"Our job is to provide a sense of normality and stability to their lives, with regular meals and a place to stay, it makes a huge difference for them and leads to positive change."

The charity launched its business partnership scheme at the South West Expo to encourage firms to regularly donate and is still looking for donations from other sources as well as new underwear and shoes for its guests.


Is there something about Swindon that you want to shout about? It could be anything and anyone who makes a positive difference to people in Swindon.

Call 01793 501734 or email