GUESTS at Swindon Night Shelter will be offered the opportunity to take part in activity sessions to support them with life skills.

The invitation-only classes, which include skills such as cooking, gardening, painting and decorating, are designed to help those who have found themselves living chaotic lives or who are vulnerably housed.

Manager Ian McCarthy said: “We’re hoping to build up these activity sessions weekly over time to help our guests to get into a routine along with the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. We’ve realised that as we start to come out of the pandemic that there is a need to give our guests opportunities to engage with everyday skills which they may have either lost touch with or have been unable to engage in due to their housing circumstances.”

During the pandemic, Swindon Night Shelter diversified its activities during lockdown and many rough sleepers were housed by the local authority. Now the organisation is powering up again to provide day-to-day support to rough sleepers in the town and those who live in precarious housing situations.

“Most people know that a rough sleeper is someone who sleeps on the street and has no roof over their head,” said Ian “However there are other people in our town who do not have secure housing, they may live in temporary accommodation, or be sleeping on a friend or relative’s sofa, they may be on the margins of society.

Ian added: "It’s not our role to judge anyone, it’s our mission to try and support people and help them when they are ready to be helped. We are a Christian-centred ministry and alongside the vital practical day-to-day support provided we also want to share the abundance of God’s love and provision to those in need”

The activity sessions will be run by staff and volunteers starting with cooking and woodworking – other sessions including gardening, upcycling, painting and decorating, arts and crafts will be introduced over time. It’s also hoped to offer one to one support for those whose do not have English as a first language which can be a barrier to integration.

Swindon Night Shelter, which runs The Haven centre on Queen’s Drive along with its two shops, Clive Parade and Fresbrook and a number of key food collection locations is now gearing up to operate in a post pandemic situation. There are plans to increase their services during 2021 and to take an even greater role in supporting the vulnerable in the town. For more information about Swindon Night Shelter visit