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At a virtual Town Hall meeting on 17 September, CEO Lucy Abraham was joined by staff and volunteers of Glass Door to reveal how the charity will adapt its services to provide shelter and food during the winter of 2020-2021. With the Coronavirus pandemic still active, the usual model of church-based rotating shelters is not safe; however, it is clear many will find themselves in need of support and a safe place to sleep as the economic impact of the pandemic intensifies.

A new service model will feature safe, individual rooms for guests as well as an emergency food delivery service where volunteers can play an important role in the coming winter.

Key Messages

  • Volunteers are at the heart of our work. Thank you for your dedication to supporting Glass Door and our guests.
  • With many expected to lose their jobs and homes as a result of COVID-19, Glass Door’s services will be needed more than ever this coming winter.
  • Facing great adversity has forced us all to innovate and find new solutions for our guests.
  • Current government guidance does not allow shelters with shared airspace.
  • We are delighted to be able to publicly share our winter plans for for the first time with our dedicated volunteers.

Winter provision 2020-2021

  • Two hostel sites in London with a total of 88 beds beginning from the 2nd of November through the beginning of April. Guests can stay 24/7.
  • 7-night a week dinner service in all the boroughs where we normally operate
  • Static shelter in up to three venues, guidelines permitting

What can volunteers do?

Future roles:

  • Dinner and food preparation
  • Other: translations, befriending, women’s group, office/phone support

Key points:

  • fewer direct volunteering opportunities than usual
  • probably at a venue different than volunteers are accustomed
  • less guest engagement
  • No one should feel pressured to volunteer
  • Everyone’s safety, and our guests’ needs, will direct everything we do.

Next steps

  • We hope to confirm more detailed information about our winter provision by the beginning of October at the very latest.  
  • Corin will get in touch with all those who registered as a volunteer last year and all the volunteer coordinators of last year’s shelter venues to share information on available roles, when we know more.
  • Those interested will then be asked to register their interest.

Download a PDF summarising the presentation below.

summary presentation


Staff fielded many questions around start dates, numbers expected, exact roles, timing and more. Download the round-up of questions and answers below.


Watch the full video