St Anne’s Shelter opens its doors to first guests: St Anne's visit

08 Nov 2018

St Anne’s Shelter opens its doors to first guests

The first ever 24-hour shelter in Bristol opened its doors this week and will reduce the numbers of people rough sleeping on our streets this winter.

St Anne’s Shelter, run by St Mungo’s alongside charity partners Caring in Bristol, The Julian Trust and Crisis Centre Ministries, welcomed the first ten people into a safe, warm space this week. At full capacity, the shelter will support 30 people.

Bristol City Council has allocated £300,000 to the development and operation of the new shelter with funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG). This funding is to cover the first six months from the 1st October 2018 until 31st March 2019. The shelter will re-open in October 2019 until March 2020 with additional funding of £150k from MHCLG.

Today, Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire joined Mayor Marvin Rees and Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, on a visit to the shelter to see the facilities and meet with staff and clients. Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire said: “No one should have to sleep on the streets, which is why I have set out bold plans backed by £100m of funding to make rough sleeping a thing of the past by 2027.

“It was humbling to visit St Anne’s winter shelter to witness the efforts of local teams to help get people off the streets and access the support they need, particularly during the cold days and nights.

“This is precisely the type of important work I and my ministerial team will continue to shine a light on as part of our Community Roadshow.”

In total Bristol City Council has received £1.1M from the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative to be spent over the next two years.

Alongside the St Anne’s Shelter, the money will also be made available for:

  • Multi-agency move-on team to work with Pathway clients to help them to move in to longer term accommodation, freeing up places for rough sleeper referrals
  • Targeted specialist psychological support for Pathway clients with high level complex Mental Health issues who are not currently engaging 
  • Housing First - 10 units of settled accommodation, supported by two staff providing intensive wraparound support
  • Working with prison leavers to prevent them from ending up on the streets and coordination of all services linked to prison release.

Planning permission for the shelter was approved on Wednesday 26 Sept and a small team have been busy getting the ground floor ready. Richard Chilvers was appointed Deputy Manager of the project. He said: “We are delighted to have got to this point. A lot of work has gone into ensuring the building is safe and welcoming for residents to stay. We are looking forward to making a difference to the lives of people who have been rough sleeping and support them away from the streets for good.

“St Anne’s Shelter is a 24-hour provision and we aim to be a hub for partner agencies to bring their services to the people living here. We already have Caring in Bristol bringing activities on site and we hope more with follow their lead.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Homelessness is a major issue nationally, and in Bristol this shelter will make a real difference to the lives of some of the people sleeping rough in the city. Not only will they have a place to sleep, they will have access to services and support that can help them turn their lives around.

 “I am really pleased to see that our shelter programme continues to grow, as getting people a safe roof over their head is the first step towards getting them into suitable long term accommodation.

 “Alongside St Mungo’s and our other partners we will continue to work with the local community as the project progresses, to make sure they can have a meaningful impact on how the shelter develops.

“This visit from the Secretary of State was an excellent opportunity to showcase what Bristol is already doing, but also to highlight what else could be possible with the right funding and support from government. We have ambitious targets to reduce homelessness and increase affordable housing, but we are well aware that there are many more challenges to come.”

Ben Richardson, Charity Director for Caring in Bristol said: “We are excited to be working in partnership on this innovative shelter that aims to significantly reduce street homelessness at a dangerous time of year. Caring in Bristol believe in community solutions to community problems and our brilliant worker, Hannah, is going to be working closely with the local community and shelter residents to provide meaningful activities, entertainment and learning opportunities.”

The 30 bed spaces at St Anne’s Shelter are in addition to the 65 night shelter spaces already open in Bristol:

18 at The Julian Trust (not open on Thursdays or Sundays)

20 at The Compass Centre

15 at The 365 Shelter

12 at Spring of Hope (women only) (not open on Saturdays)

In addition - on January 31 2019 Churches Together will open an extra 12 spaces for twelve weeks. All this adds up to a total of 107 available night shelter spaces.

In the run up to opening the shelter,  relationships have been built with the community. A small team of residents have joined the shelter team to form a focus group. Together they have been developing a ‘good neighbours plan’ which includes expectations on how to live together with respect and dignity in the community.

There will also be opportunities for local people to use the top floor of the building for community events. This is being developed.