Glasgow City Mission provides a Night Shelter for homeless people in Glasgow.
This year, members of Greenview Church provided help for a week in January. Here are some of our member’s thoughts on the time they had…
Loved it. Good to do something that really helps people. Really conscious that you are just a tiny part of something bigger as God works in the lives of some of these men and women who are sleeping rough. Had a really good chat with one guy, pray that he gets the help he needs in finding accommodation but most important that he opens up to God. Looking forward to doing it again next year. (Andy)
I am a very practical person and this is more practical than spiritual! For getting volunteers, I think one of the first questions is “could you stay awake for 24 hours?” and then explain that they would be one of two volunteers working alongside a team of regulars who do all the hard stuff. I think people imagine the responsibility and risk is greater than it ends up being. A good tip is to wear quiet shoes when walking about during the night! We started with a good welcome and briefing from the manager in charge, there were plenty of chances to ask questions, lots of information about what to do in various circumstances. On the night I was there the night shelter was almost full (39) a lot knew each other and it was good to see them supporting one another. Some knew the system very well, for some it was their first time there and they were glad to be off the streets. The security system for bagging personal and potentially dangerous items was very impressive. The bedding looked clean and comfortable. The main complaint was about snoring- though ear plugs were offered. There was plenty of tea/coffee, cakes and toast served up until lights out. At the beginning and of the shift there were people from other organisations (Hamish Allen centre and Simon Community Scotland) to offer support with accommodation and other issues-there was obviously a good working relationship all round. The users of this service were all fragile in different ways with such immediate needs – it felt important to treat each one with respect and love as a person made in the image of God. (Susan)
I felt it was a very well run operation, professional, firm but also caring. I enjoyed the night. I didn’t realise how few women used the service, for example – 2 women and 28 men the night I was on. The man in charge David read 2 Corinthians 3&4 which was very relevant. Glad I did it and would do it again. (Elaine)
This service is so vital in Glasgow, The winter night shelter depend on the help of local churches in the city to provide volunteers to help them each evening. You can really feel God’s love and presence from the moment the doors are open to the rough sleepers. I had a chat with one guy who I knew from my college placement at Street Connect. He actually remembered me from there, which given his chaotic lifestyle was amazing, we sat down and chatted over a cuppa and he told me about how his life had really taken a turn for the worst over the last few weeks. He allowed me to pray with him after our chat, and thanked me for listening as he said during the last few weeks he felt like no one had actually listened to anything he said and he felt so invisible and useless. I reminded him that God is always there, and that God loves him more than anyone ever could. Getting the opportunity to sit down and chat to people who don’t yet know God’s love for them was for me a very humbling experience. (Nichola)
I wasn’t planning on helping to be honest but there was a space needing filled and I was able to do it so I volunteered and glad I did. It was in many ways an ‘uneventful evening’ (nothing mad going on, although they had warned me that some previous nights had been ‘interesting’). But it was a real joy to be able to serve alongside other Christians in very practical, hand on ways, and share something of God’s love with people who are in a difficult place and situation. I helped in the kitchen mainly, getting toast and teas and coffees (with loads of sugar!) ready as people came in throughout the evening and then for breakfast and helped sort through clothes that had been donated. But I also really enjoyed the opportunity to share with some of the people who were coming in and to listen to them, as well as good opportunity to chat with the regular workers and hear their stories. (Zach)