Two wonderful volunteers called Sue and Arnie have created the Light Project in Peterborough; this is where 7 churches will each be open for one night of the week from 5th Dec until 29th February for the night, offering a place for homeless people of Peterborough to sleep. It’s an incredible project in Peterborough which I have volunteered for, as a Volunteer for one shift a fortnight and last week I had my training.
On Friday night we had Listening Training from The Samaritans, it was a brilliant chance to hear more about what the Samaritans do and also what we can do to make the lives of homeless people better. It’s all about listening, not offering advice or telling them what to do – instead just listening and allowing them to talk and feel cared about.
There are three shifts available for volunteers, the evening shift (which I am doing), this is 6pm-10pm and includes setting up their camp beds, cooking and serving their evening meal and dessert and sitting with them to enjoy it before playing games with them (such as Jenga, Chess, Draughts, Cards and such like) or allowing them to wash and go to bed.
The night shift is 10pm-7am throughout the night, with 3-4 volunteers taking turns to have a nap through the night while the awake volunteer is seeing everyone is okay and making tea or coffee as and when required. Then the breakfast shift is 7am-8.30am and it’s about serving and eating breakfast with the guests, helping tidy away beds and getting guests up and in taxis to go back to the town centre.
Peterborough prison is washing all the sheets, all food is supplied by the churches and there are two paid co-ordinators while everyone else is a volunteer. Over 220 volunteers have signed up to help but more are needed as the colder months bring broken down cars, colds, flu and holidays where volunteers are unable to help.
The project involves the council and other local support groups so homeless people are given the chance for homes, work, drug and drink support as well as health checks by a trained nurse. It’s a great community idea that will really help with those finding themselves homeless in the coldest months of the year.
More volunteers are needed, if you would like to get involved too please email; [email protected]