Night Shelter

The Hatfield Night Shelter is presently running for it's second Winter from St Luke's Church, Hatfield. It operates every night to provide food and shelter to up to 12 people.

For more details you can visit their website here

Hatfield Night Shelter 2017/18 Update

by Michelle Jervis, Deputy Church Warden, St Luke’s Church

Whatever the warmth of the greeting you might get when you visit a church, they are not places you usually associate with high temperatures and St Luke’s has, over the years, been no exception to this.

It was with some trepidation that we thought of making the premises warm enough for our night shelter guests and the volunteers who would be looking after them. However, with the help of heating engineers and electricians the system was given a thorough overhaul in the late autumn and we were able to achieve something like acceptable temperatures.

You don’t have to have studied Met Office statistics to know that this winter has seen some exceptionally cold nights so it was with horror that we discovered at the end of January that our boiler had sprung a leak which was irreparable. We have been very fortunate that our heating engineers were so sympathetic to the plight of our guests that they were very speedy in installing a replacement but even so we had to have recourse to some temporary heating.

It is a testimony to the dedication of the volunteers who have staffed the night shelter that it has been able to keep open every night from 26th November to 24th March. The original plan was for the shelter to run until 10th March but in the light of the recent bitterly cold weather the closure was deferred.

Over that period more than twenty people have been guests (not all at the same time!) having not only overnight accommodation but also a hot evening meal and a breakfast.

Apart from the obvious purpose of providing shelter and food, the project has also sought to help the guests to progress. This has been done by the guests working with local charity Resolve. To date ten guests have places in more permanent accommodation and two guests have been helped to return to their home countries. Most of the guests have engaged in voluntary and paid work during their stay, working towards rebuilding their lives.

On a lighter note, the guests have also had some (more or less) welcome visitors in the shape of the Dentaid van (well it’s welcome when you have toothache) and a magician from the Magic Circle who did a free show for the guests and volunteers. It has been a real community project, led by our late Mayor, Cllr Lynne Sparks and Chris Welsh, Watch Commander from Hatfield Fire Station but supported by many of the other churches in Welwyn Hatfield, by generous donations of money, equipment and food from individuals, from local businesses and by the numerous volunteers (more than one hundred in total) both in the town and nearby who have given up time to cook and serve hot meals and breakfast and to staff the shelter overnight. The results have been so heartening.

At St Luke’s we have been moved by the conversations we have had with the volunteers. Discussions are currently ongoing as to how the work of the Night Shelter might proceed.