The Queanbeyan Safe Shelter is currently seeking volunteers prior to launching its third winter season of providing a safe place for those in need.
The shelter is a collaboration between the Queanbeyan Uniting Church and St Benedict’s Community Centre and can offer a bed to four overnight guests at any given time.
The staff at St Benedict’s will refer people in crisis or in need to the shelter. Two overnight volunteers stay with the guests and help provide care.
The centre accepts men and women, however the first guest referred on any given evening will dictate whether it will be a night to house male or female guests.
Those that use the service are also provided with a breakfast voucher provided by four cafes around Queanbeyan.
The shelter has so far run one night per week, on a Tuesday, but has council approval to operate three nights per week. The shelter will add a second night during the upcoming season.
There are currently 18 volunteers on the books but organiser June Lawrence said the shelter was desperate for more. Thirty-five to 40 volunteers would allow the shelter to expand its services comfortably.
Returning volunteer Castaly Haddon said she enjoys knowing she is doing something practical that helps people.
“I have really benefited from meeting the homeless people and sharing their stories,” she said.
“It has given me a much better understanding of the problems they face.”
All volunteers are required to complete a two hour free training session that will be held on March 20.
There is no obligation to continue with the service but those that do can choose between short or overnight shifts and are usually required to volunteer a few hours a month.
There will also be an art exhibition to fundraise for the shelter at the Queanbeyan Uniting Church on March 3 and 4. Entry is by a donation and refreshments will be available.
The service will begin operating on April 3, those interested in volunteering or in the art show can call (02) 6297 9046 or email email@example.com