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Cover photo: Megan and Michelle at new partner drop-in Refetorio Felix registering guests

7 November 2019

On Monday, Glass Door opened the doors of its winter shelters for the 2019-2020 season with the launch of an additional winter shelter circuit and two new partnering drop-in centres in and around Kensington and Chelsea. 

Five shelters open every night

Every shelter circuit incorporates seven partners who take turns to host a shelter every night of the week. With the additional fifth circuit, up to 170 individuals will be able to find a safe place to sleep in one of five Glass Door shelter open throughout the winter. 

The opening of an additional circuit this year is in direct response to an increase in demand for our services. Last winter, Glass Door experienced a 42% increase in demand for shelter. 

Lucy Abraham, Glass Door’s Chief Operating Officer, says:

We wish the need wasn't there, but we are thankful that so many dedicated partners and volunteers have come together this week to launch the largest network of winter shelters in the charity's history. 

Five churches and one community centre have joined the Glass Door shelter network. Another two churches have increased their commitment, extending their involvement from 11 to 22 weeks. The new shelter partners are:

  • St Peter’s, Notting Hill
  • St Cuthbert’s, Earl’s Court
  • Katherine Low Settlement with St Mary's, Battersea
  • St Saviour’s, Wendell Park
  • St Margaret’s Putney
  • St Katherine’s, Westway

Photo: Volunteer team at St Peter's Notting Hill during its opening night, courtesy of volunteer coordinator Emily @yesemilyrose.

Daytime respite

As well as a new winter shelter circuit, Glass Door has joined forces with two new community partners, The Upper Room at Shepherd’s Bush and Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert’s near Earl’s Court. Glass Door caseworkers are now based at these and five other local daytime drop-in centres to help individuals find routes out of homelessness.

Our guests tell us that having somewhere to go during the daytime is crucial. These drop-in centre partnerships provide a much needed base where shelter guests can find not only advice, but also other services they provide, such as laundry, showers, internet access and more. 

Ali Kingsley, Chief Executive of Refettorio Felix at the St. Cuthbert's, says:

CEO Ali Kingsley of Refettorio Felix

Working with Glass Door has been a really exciting development in the Refettorio Felix story. Our aim has always been to provide a safe and welcoming environment allowing people to relax almost as if they were in their own home. To be able to extend that to overnight is a natural progression of our ethos, and we look forward to working closely together with Glass Door to make this partnership a great success.

Glass Door aprons and tea towels drying in the wind with Cherry the Beagle, courtesy of volunteer coordinator Paul Jackson.

Volunteers make it happen

Thanks are due all who made the launch of our shelters and services possible this week. We would not be able to function without all of the volunteers who prepare the shelters, welcome guests, cook and serve food, drive vans and more. Says Lucy: 

We are extremely lucky to have the support of so many in the community. Volunteers and partnerships create the foundation that make all the shelters and support services possible.  

If you would like to work towards a future where no one has to sleep rough in London, join the Glass Door community.


For further information on the rise in demand for Glass Door’s services, read our story here.