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Severe Weather Protocol activated

Published: 30 January 2019

Night shelter proving a life saver in cold weather Exeter's Night Shelter is ready to welcome rough sleepers in out of the cold. Pictured is Cllr Emma Morse

With temperatures falling and snow showers hitting the county, 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 allows the Council to work 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 Thursday are expected to dip below zero and there is a possibility that the freezing conditions might go on into the weekend. For this reason, the City Council will be reviewing its SWEP as the week develops.

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.

In November the City Council opened up a Night Shelter, 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 continues to prove 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 shelter has been provided by the City Council and is run by local charities Julian House and BCHA. Funding for the facility came from a successful application to the Government’s national initiative to reduce the number of rough sleepers. Exeter received £481,600 to provide support to people living on the streets and help them back into accommodation.

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, at which point it will be used as a meaningful occupation hub for rough sleepers - from training sessions to arts and crafts, music sessions, therapy – anything that could benefit those who use it.

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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