St Albans Winter Beds Project seeks volunteers

Open Door is looking for volunteers to help St Albans' homeless this winter.

Open Door is looking for volunteers to help St Albans' homeless this winter. - Credit: Getty Images

Can you help welcome rough sleepers into special cabins designed to keep them warm and safe during the coldest months of the year?

Every year between December and March accommodation is provided to rough sleepers in St Albans as part of charity initiative run alongside Emmaus and the district council.

The Winter Beds Project provides people who would otherwise be rough sleeping with self contained sleeper cabins at Emmaus in Hill End Lane. Each cabin provides secure, Covid-safe accommodation with heating, electricity and ensuite facilities.

This year the project is looking for volunteers to help welcome guests and book them into cabins when they arrive in the evening, and to wake guests and clear cabins in the morning. 

Guests of the project are supported to move onto secure accommodation by the rough sleeper outreach team. Last year due to Covid the project ran from January through to the beginning of April and accommodated 17 people, 11 of whom moved on to secure accommodation.  

This winter SAWBP will provide six extra beds for the fifth year running, adding to the facilities at Open Door night shelter on Bricket Road, which can accommodate 12 people all year round.

David Lane, chair of the Open Door board of trustees, said: “Rough sleeping at any time of year is not a choice but in the harsh weather over winter it is something to be avoided at all costs.

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"In order to tackle this problem and using our wonderful volunteers, Open Door will once again be opening its Winter Beds Project, providing overnight accommodation and breakfast to those who otherwise would be sleeping rough, in the open and exposed to the elements.

"We can only do this with the financial support of the people of St Albans to whom I and the trustees give our heartfelt thanks.” 

Emmaus chief executive Duncan Lewis said: "The winter months are especially hard for anyone who is forced to sleep rough and at Emmaus we are grateful to be able to help some of those most in need by once again providing space on our premises for the emergency accommodation pods.

"Working with our colleagues at Open Door to provide this vital safety net for some of the most at-risk members of our community fits perfectly with the aims of our charity."

Find out more and get involved by contacting Lucy Gaygusuz at