Swindon Borough Council’s successful Temporary Winter Housing Provision (TWHP) scheme will return for a third consecutive year.

The project, which will see a select number of homeless people given shelter during the cold winter period, will this year run for 12 weeks from Thursday, 2 January 2020.

This year the scheme, which provides a safe refuge for an identified group of entrenched rough sleepers, will be run by the charity Swindon Night Shelter.

Last year, the TWHP was accompanied by the opening of a new day centre, which is also run by Swindon Night Shelter. The day centre, located at The Haven off Queens Drive, acts as a first point of contact for rough sleepers to access vital services such as mental health provision and drug and alcohol support.

This year, 12 guests will be given a space in the TWHP scheme and will receive close personal support with the aim of encouraging them off the streets and into safe, long term accommodation.

Last year’s project was such a success that five guests were able to move into permanent accommodation by the end of the project.

The scheme is being funded by a £20,000 grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, with Swindon Night Shelter providing the rest and the Council providing the building.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “The Temporary Winter Housing initiative is one of the Council’s flagship schemes that help rough sleepers in Swindon, and I am pleased to be able to say that it is returning this year.

“We are fully committed to doing everything we possibly can to help some of the most vulnerable people in our community and we will be with them every step of the way as they look to get themselves into safe and secure accommodation.”

Every year, the Council spends around £1.4m on supported housing projects and outreach services for homeless people and rough sleepers. This includes the provision of two direct access hostels with 70 bed spaces and additional emergency spaces so that nobody should sleep rough out of necessity.

The Council engages with rough sleepers via Rough Sleeper Navigators and also pays towards Floating Support Workers who go out onto the streets to encourage rough sleepers into accommodation.

The Council is also using an initiative known as Housing First, which focuses on moving people into accommodation first and wrapping tailored support services around them. The Council provides a range of housing options to suit people with different needs and the main priority is to get people off the streets and into accommodation.

Last year, more than 50 volunteers came forward to donate their time to help with the Temporary Winter Housing scheme, and volunteers are being sought for this year’s project.

To find out more about the work that Swindon Night Shelter does, log on to www.swindonnightshelter.uk.

If you would like to be part of this project that can really make a difference, please contact Swindon Night Shelter on admin@swindonnightshelter.org.uk.