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22-Feb-2019Designing Future Health Services - Potential Changes to East Kent Hospitals The NHS in east Kent recently announced the next stage of proposed development for potential changes to local care and hospital..

Helping the Homeless: Emergency Homeless Winter Refuge from One Big Family - 2018/19


Local charity One Big Family – Helping the Homeless (OBF) will be running an Emergency Homeless Winter Refuge (ER) in Medway this winter.

From Friday the 23rd of November 2018 until Sunday the 31st of March 2019, OBF is running an Emergency Homeless Winter Refuge (ER). The ER will provide a warm, safe place to sleep for those who are homeless and might otherwise have to sleep rough in Medway during the winter months.

OBF says the ER will be open any time the overnight temperature is forecast to “feel like” 0oC or below, as well as every Saturday and Sunday night, regardless of the temperature.

The overall aim of the ER is to prevent harm to the health of people having to sleep out in extreme weather conditions. In addition to providing a warm place to sleep indoors, OBF says the ER also provides people with a place of safety, food and drink, a chance to have a wash, access clean clothes and good company, as well as assistance and signposting to other support services.

Last winter, the ER in Medway provided over 1,200 beds to those in need. Involvement in last year’s ER strengthened the charity’s relationships with people who are homeless in Medway as well as other agencies and organisations, and they have continued to work intensively with a number of clients who stayed at last winter’s ER, in accessing health and addiction services, claiming benefits and supporting them into accommodation, and in securing vital documentation such as passports.

As the number of people who are homeless in Medway increases, OBF says the need for an ER is likely to be even greater this coming winter.

The charity says as the ER is run solely by volunteers, as such it does rely on the support, time, the expertise and good will of a huge number of people to make it possible; and they are currently recruiting for volunteers to make sure that this year's refuge will be equally successful, providing much-needed support to homeless people in need in Medway.

OBF will be make comprehensive training and support available for all ER volunteers. As well as a specific induction to the ER and your role, volunteers will receive training in; health and safety, safeguarding and awareness about homelessness, drug and alcohol awareness. Additional training and DBS checks will also be offered to Shift Leaders and Overnight Shift volunteers.

If you would like to be get involved, OBF are holding a volunteering event on the 20th October 2018 at Emmaus Church, Clover Street Chatham. For more information, you can also email OBF at



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