Robes Project Shelter for Homeless People


This year St Matthew’s Church again participared in the Robes Project – a winter shelter for homeless people,

The shelter opperated in the coldest winter months. Guests slept in the church on Tuesday evenings. On other nights they will stayed in various other churches in the area. For instance on Sundays they were in St Michael’s Stockwell. The shelter offered the guests an opportunity to arrange suitable longer term accommodation. The Robes Project advice team assisted the guests with this process.



Picture of the tables 2015

The tables and chairs are set out in the Church

Guest Timetable
7pm Guests arrive and register.
8pm Guests and volunteers share a meal together.
10pm Lights out.
7am Breakfast is served.
8am Guests leave for the day, with instructions on where to go the following evening.

guests chatting before dinner

The guests chat before dinner is served

Volunteer Timetable
First shift (evening shift)
6:30pm (or earlier if possible) Volunteers arrive to rearrange the church chairs, set up the beds and bedding, and lay the tables.
7:30pm The evening meal is served. Volunteers eat and chat with guests.
9:00pm As the evening quietens down, volunteers begin to leave.

9:30pm Night shift arrives and is briefed by outgoing shift.
10:00pm Lights go out.
6:30am Rise and shine.
7:00am Breakfast is served.

Robes breakfast volunteers

Robes Project volunteers in January 2015

6:00am Morning shift arrives and cooks breakfast.
7:00am Breakfast is served.
8:00am Guests leave. Volunteers tidy church and finish washing breakfast dishes.
8:30am Volunteers leave, (or attend 8:30am Holy Communion!).




The Robes Project was set up in January 2007 to support people who are homeless, by running a temporary night shelter in churches, church halls, community halls. It operates between November and April of each year and hosts between 15 and 20 guests each night.

The Robes charity supports approximately 50 people each year, each of them staying for about a month. The guests have accommodation, breakfast and dinner, community with fellow guests and volunteers and, of course, they have access to an advice worker.

The stability and rest afforded by staying at the night shelter provides a platform for them to address other issues they face such as their housing, health, relationships, finances and legal matters.

It has over 400 volunteers who run the night shelters in teams. About 21 church venues host the project on a rota basis. Without the dedication of the volunteers and churches, the whole project would not be able to operate.

Annually the Robes Project runs fundraising events. The biggest event is a Sleepout at Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge. Over the past three years this event has raised over £200,000 which has been crucial to the continuation of the vital work of the project.