Robes Project Shelter for Homeless People 2018/19


This year St Matthew’s is hosting guests from the Robes Project in the first half of the winter. We started on Tuesday 27th November 2018, and will finish on Wednesday 23rd January 2019.

As in previous years, we are looking for volunteers to provide food, especially vegetarian dishes, and to host the guests both on the Tuesday evening and on the Wednesday mornings. We are especially keen to recruit volunteers to sleep overnight in the church, alongside the guests.

To be a successful volunteer, you must be able to engage well with people who have complicated needs, and be willing to listen and take an interest in their lives. It also helps if you are good at erecting camp beds, and can remember guests names, and where they are sleeping. If you know a clever way of putting a duvet cover on, then you’ll be much appreciated. Last year some of the volunteers fixed a plumbing issue in the night, but that was a one off, and hopefully that skill won’t be needed again!

If you would like to volunteer with the Robes Project next year then please register now. The training session will be at 7pm, Tuesday 20th November 2018. It will take just over an hour, and there will be an opportunity for volunteers to introduce themselves, have a quick tour of the church and learn more about the programme. Previous experience has been that volunteers who attend the training event get much more out of the experience than those who don’t. Bring a diary, as we will sign up for shifts on that evening too. The training evening and the project all take place at St Matt

The tables and chairs are set out in the Church


  • Tuesday Evening 27/11/2018 Until Wednesday Morning 28/11/2018
  • Tuesday Evening 04/12/2018 Until Wednesday Morning 05/12/2018
  • Tuesday Evening 11/12/2018 Until Wednesday Morning 12/12/2018
  • Tuesday Evening 18/12/2018 Until Wednesday Morning 19/12/2018

Guests don’t stay with us on Christmas Day evening or Boxing Day morning

  • Tuesday Evening 01/01/2019 Until Wednesday Morning 02/01/2019
  • Tuesday Evening 08/01/2019 Until Wednesday Morning 09/01/2019
  • Tuesday Evening 15/01/2019 Until Wednesday Morning 16/01/2019
  • Tuesday Evening 22/01/2019 Until Wednesday Morning 23/01/2019

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The guests chat before dinner is served

Volunteer Timetable


  • 6:oopm 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.

Robes Project volunteers in January 2015

  • 10:00pm Lights go out. 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.
  • 9am Volunteers leave.

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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 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.
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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.

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