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Severe Weather Protocol activated to encourage rough sleepers to come in out of the cold

Published: 17 January 2020

Cllr Emma Morse inside the Night Shelter

With temperatures set to fall over the weekend, Exeter City Council has activated its Severe Weather Protocol (SWEP) and is making available extra accommodation for rough sleepers to come in out of the cold.

The protocol means that the Council works with its partner agencies Julian House, BCHA and St Petrocks to organise accommodation for anyone rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping during severe weather.

Temperatures tonight and over the weekend are expected to dip to freezing. For this reason, the City Council will be reviewing its SWEP into next week.

The aim of SWEP is to ensure that no one on the streets is exposed to life threatening risks due to extreme cold or severe weather and that every effort is made to engage individuals with support services during the winter months.

The City Council funds a winter night shelter - jointly operated by homeless charities Julian House and BCHA - which has been re-named The Junction, at the former Spice Island restaurant in Magdalen Street.

The potentially life-saving haven has already proved popular, with more than 100 people taking advantage of the facility since it opened. A number of those using the shelter have already been supported into alternative accommodation.

“The Night Shelter is invaluable, especially on nights like these” said Cllr Emma Morse, Lead Councillor for People. “No-one should be sleeping out on the streets of Exeter and being able to provide a purpose-built facility which allows people to come inside, keep warm and be comfortable is potentially a life-saver.”

Once inside the facility, the Council and its partners work with the individuals, many who have very complex issues and have become entrenched rough sleepers - and try and establish solutions moving forward.

The facility is open from early evening until early the next morning. There are toilets, showers and bunk beds and an opportunity to access hot meals. The shelter will remain open until the end of March.

The Night Shelter wouldn’t be possible without the support of the following partner agencies: 

  • Outreach Team/Julian House
  • St. Davids Church
  • Salvation Army
  • Crosslines
  • BCHA
  • St. Petrocks
  • ECI
  • Together
  • Learn Direct
  • Mental Health Services
  • The Crisis Team
  • Police
  • Ambulance Service


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