With freezing temperatures on their way Northampton's Severe Weather Emergency Protocol is being activated. That means from tonight its winter shelter will be open for those living on the streets.

The move is in response to the Met Office forecast of sub-zero overnight temperatures from Thursday night.

Northampton’s winter shelter is run by Northampton Borough Council in partnership with the Hope Centre, Midland Heart Housing Association and NAASH. It provides somewhere safe, warm and dry for rough sleepers to go during the coldest nights of the year.

The winter shelter will operate from the Hope Centre in Oasis House between 9.00pm and 7.00am from Thursday, 17 January until at least the morning of Monday, 21 January.

Sleeping rough is very dangerous at any time of year and our street outreach workers do everything they can to encourage people who are sleeping rough to access our year-round night shelter. Some refuse to engage, or take longer to engage, so we operate a winter shelter on the coldest nights of the year. Everything has been in place since October. The winter shelter provides people who are sleeping rough in Northampton with somewhere safe and comfortable to stay, hot drinks and food, and access to the local advice and support services that can help them to come off the streets."

Cllr Stephen Hibbert
Winter night shelter opens for Northampton homeless Credit: ITV Anglia

More than 50 people responded to the Borough Council's appeal last week for volunteers to help its team leaders and support workers to run the shelter.

We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has volunteered to support the smooth running of the winter shelter. We are hoping that it can emulate the success of Northampton’s Emergency night shelter which is also supported by a fantastic team of volunteers and has so far helped nearly 200 people who were sleeping rough, or at imminent risk of having to sleep rough, to move on successfully into settled housing”.

Cllr Stephen Hibbert