Sleep Out 2018

Help raise vital funds and awareness of homelessness this March 

Sleep Out 2nd March 2018


Ten times more people sleep rough in Bristol than in 2010.


For one night in March, sleep out and help raise money and awareness so that others don’t have to.


Limited places available.


Please contact for more information if you want to take part.

November 2017 news

Help keep Bristol’s night shelters open this winter 

This week the Safer off the Streets (SOS Bristol) campaign launched our third contactless donation station at Bristol Energy’s hub on the waterfront. It’s a quick and easy way for people to donate £2 direct to Bristol’s night shelters. Since the original launch of two contactless stations in Broadmead Shopping Quarter in May, the stations have raised approximately £3,000.

Bristol’s night shelters are free for the people who use them but the charities rely on fundraising and donations to keep them open.

Caring in Bristol are proud to have an existing partnership with Bristol Energy and its great to have their support for the SOS Bristol campaign. Find out more about how Bristol Energy are supporting our work here:

Volunteering at Caring in Bristol’s 365 shelter

Heather Lister, a volunteer at our 365 night shelter tells us what it is like to offer support to the guests at our shelter.

“I volunteer at Caring in Bristol’s 365 shelter with my husband, Richard, once a fortnight. The shelter is in a Quaker Meeting House, and can accommodate 15 homeless people overnight. Two volunteers attend each night, with experienced members of staff on call.

Richard and I arrive at about 9.45pm to get things ready before guests arrive at 10.30pm. The first thing we do is check supplies (tea, coffee and sugar) and look through the hand-over book, where everyone who attends each night is recorded. We check whether there are any likely problems or considerations – we may be asked to give a guest a message or remind them of an appointment. Guests are referred by St Mungo’s, and we are given a list of people to expect. St Mungo’s tell us of any special medical conditions or needs they might have.

Each guest is supplied with a camp bed and a plastic box with a sheet, duvet and pillow. When the guests arrive they find their boxes, set up their beds and have a welcoming cup of tea and a chat. First-timers are asked to sign an agreement comprising a few simple rules, and we help them settle in and see how things work. Guests are asked to arrive by 11.15pm. Many are exhausted, and all seem happy to get their heads down by about midnight. We provide ear-plugs (for the snoring!) Richard and I doze off on sofas just outside the “dormitory.”

People usually start stirring at about 6.30am. At 6.45am gentle prompting such as drawing back curtains gets everyone else moving. There’s another cup of tea or coffee, and off they go with our good wishes.

People coming to the 365 shelter are diverse – in age, background and circumstances. Not all are workless – we’ve known some to get up well before 6.30am to travel to work. Some move on from the shelter quite quickly, being already on their way to getting their own accommodation. All are engaging with services. A camp-bed in a dormitory isn’t ideal, but it’s a warm, safe place to stay, and hopefully prevents many people in temporary difficulty from becoming stuck in a harsh, dangerous lifestyle in which it is easy to lose hope.

Ours is a simple provision. We’ve thought of organising evening meals, but this would need more volunteers to do an evening shift, and there are other places providing free food in Bristol. However, Bristol Quakers plan to build showers and laundry facilities at the Meeting House, which are much needed.

I don’t think there are any special qualities that volunteers need, other than being happy to listen to troubles and triumphs, and having a conviction that this support is worthwhile – it is appreciated and it works.”


If you would like to volunteer at any of the four city night shelters please contact the following people:

St Mungo’s night assessment shelter:

Julian Trust night shelter:

Caring in Bristol 365 shelter:

Spring of Hope women’s night shelter:


You can also make an online donation via the SOSBristol fundsurfer page.

October 2017 news

Job Opportunity

Caring in Bristol Christmas Worker


The opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic and hardworking charity worker to join our team for a 2 month period over Christmas and the New Year; starting in mid -November and lasting until January.

The Christmas worker will help support the successful delivery of Caring in Bristol’s Caring at Christmas project and 365 Shelter. Caring at Christmas is a project that supports homeless people in a 24-hour shelter between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. We also operate our 365 Night Shelter throughout the Christmas period.



Caring in Bristol, The Night Shelter, 14 Little Bishop Street, St. Paul’s, Bristol. BS2 9JF



Fixed term from mid-November 2017 – first week of January 2018.


Responsible to

The Caring at Christmas Project Lead


Main responsibilities

  • To assist the Project Lead with the coordination of volunteers for Caring at Christmas and 365 Shelter. This will include office duties, volunteer management plus the receipt and storage of donations, deliveries and supplies to the shelter, and to ensure that the storeroom is organised efficiently.
  • To assist the Fundraising Coordinator with database management and other general fundraising tasks.


Main tasks

  • Support the work of the Project Lead for Caring at Christmas and 365 Shelter and liaise with them on a daily basis.
  • Support the work of the Fundraising Coordinator and liaise with them on a daily basis.
  • First point of contact for incoming phone calls, email, and post.
  • The receipt of goods, donations and gifts, before, during and after the Christmas period.
  • Helping maintain our donations database.
  • Helping with volunteer management for both shelters, and tasks that ensure their continuing smooth operation.
  • Organise the effective, appropriate and efficient storage of food, clothes, and other gifts, and to redirect inappropriate donations both before and during the Christmas period.
  • Help ensure supplies are adequate to meet the needs of the shelter over the Christmas period.
  • Ensure the smooth running of the stores by communicating effectively with staff and volunteers.
  • Maintain a clean and hygienic shelter.
  • Adhere to all health and safety policies (COSHH etc.)
  • Provide general assistance during training/presentations.
  • Meeting and greeting visitors and volunteers.
  • Carrying out basic research.


Terms and conditions

Short term contract commencing 6th November 2017 to 5th January 2018.

Salary of £8.45 per hour, paid monthly in arrears.

One-week notice is to be given by either employer or employee.

CVs and covering letters to be received by Tuesday 31st October at 5pm.

Interviews will be held in the first week of November.

To apply for this post, or for more information, please contact:

Ed Reed,

Caring at Christmas Shelter Lead,

The Night Shelter

Little Bishop Street,

St. Paul’s,

Bristol. BS2 9JF


Tel – 0117 924 44 44

September 2017 news

Job Opportunity

Caring in Bristol Assistant Director

Caring in Bristol are looking for an exceptional leader to join our Leadership Team.


About us

Caring in Bristol is a small, effective and local charity which delivers support to homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol 365 days a year. We are striving to create a society where everyone has a home, has hope and is a part of their community. We deliver projects to tackle homelessness that engage an amazing community of volunteers to bring people together to make change happen.

We work closely with other organisations in the city to build powerful partnerships and develop pilot projects which respond to the need we see.  We deliver our Caring at Christmas project, run a Big Lottery funded project called Bristol Nightstop, publish the Survival Handbook, carry out research and put on events to share good practice and new ideas.  This year, in partnership with St Mungo’s and the central Quakers meeting house, we are providing 15 beds every night of the week for people who find themselves sleeping on the streets of the city.  In addition to this we have a number of pilot projects about to go live in the next few months.

It’s an exciting time to be involved and a great time to join us.


About this role

Over the last four years we have expanded the work that we do, increased our influence and profile and developed new projects.  We’re now looking for an exceptional leader to join the Leadership Team, build our capacity and take the charity forward into its next phase.

The role will assist our current Charity Director, with a focus to:

(1) Support and contribute to the existing projects and activities that the Charity runs;

(2) Ensure effective day-to-day running of all the Charity’s functions;

(3) Support the development of new projects; and

(4) Provide line management for Project Leads and, by extension of this, management of the wider Caring in Bristol staff.

The role will be part time (30 hours), with some evening and weekend work based in Bristol. We are a small, agile charity and are committed to making this an interesting and worthwhile opportunity with plenty of scope to grow and develop as a leader and influencer in the city.

We are open to exploring flexible working arrangements and supporting you to meet other commitments you may have.



In the first three months, key activities are likely to include the following:

– Delivering our Future Plan (available for shortlisted candidates prior to interview)

– Building our core capacity

– Inspiring, influencing and innovating



The role will be based in our office in St Pauls with a reach across the city.


About you

We’re looking for an inspiring leader who can work in a dynamic and challenging environment. You will have extensive experience in the social sector or in a mission-led business but, most importantly, you will have decided to use your time and talents to do good in the world.

You’ll be keen to make an impact and be committed to making our work a success. We are looking for someone to join our Leadership Team, someone who has energy, enthusiasm and good humor. You will be able to build a professional rapport quickly with colleagues, our volunteers and our guests who use our shelters and services. You’ll also be happy to get involved with day to day office management, pick up projects when needed, take and share responsibility and use your initiative and experience to make our organisation fly.



Permanent Contract.

30 hours per week flexible working arrangements.

24 days leave per annum inclusive of bank holidays

Salary £30,000 – £35,000 pro rata

(actual pay £24,000-£28,000 for 30 hours per week)


How to apply

For further information and to request an application pack, including job description, person specification and an application form, please email:


Deadline: Monday 18th September 2017, 5pm

Interviews for shortlisted candidates: 21st and 25th September 2017

Start date: End October 2017


For an informal chat about this post please call Matt Dowse (Charity Director) on 0117 924 4444 (Monday – Thursday)

March 2017 news

365 days a year support

Caring in Bristol takes on city centre shelter

Volunteers Needed!!

From the 6th March 2017, Caring in Bristol will run a night shelter in the centre of Bristol, which is open 365 days a year.  We need 2 volunteers every night to run the shelter for our 15 guests.

The shelter:  Is based in the city centre

 Opening times: 22:00 – 07:30

Guests: They are low support need guests referred to us by St Mungo’s Outreach team.  You will be responsible (along with another volunteer) for taking care of the guests, ensuring they are comfortable, warm, safe and informed.

Volunteer duties (overnight):  Come in at 22:00, open up the shelter, make the guests a drink as they settle down.  Then you spend half the night ‘on duty’ staying awake to keep an eye out and help a guest if needed, and the other half of the shift asleep.  In the morning you make them some more drinks, remind them if they need to see an outreach worker etc. and then send them on their way.

Volunteer duties (morning): Come in between 7:00 and 8:00 to clean the shelter and ensure it is ready for use as an event space by other users of the Friends Meeting House.

To find out more, please contact Ed Reed via email ( ) or telephone (01179 244444)

November 2016 news

97 supporters in sleeping bags launch SOS Bristol, a campaign to

fund the city’s night shelters for rough sleeperssots_final-with-logos

Today sees the launch of a pioneering crowdfunding campaign to fund Bristol’s night shelters for people sleeping rough in the city.

The 97 supporters – one for every person sleeping rough in Bristol according to latest figures – will be gathering on The Watershed Walkway to encourage the city to back Safer off the Streets (SOS) Bristol, a new fundraising campaign from local homelessness charities St Mungo’s, The Julian Trust, Caring in Bristol and Crisis Centre Ministries.

As the temperature gets colder, the charities are asking people to help raise £100k to keep Bristol’s night shelters running.

There are four night shelters in the city offering 70 emergency bed spaces and last week every bed was full. Each shelter provides somewhere safe and supportive to stay whilst volunteers and staff work to help people find accommodation, and help with health and employment issues.

The night shelters are run by the charities in partnership with Bristol City Council and SOS Bristol is the latest initiative from the Rough Sleeping Partnership, set up by the Council to tackle rising homelessness in the city through new service provision and awareness campaigns.

David Ingerslev, Project Manager at St Mungo’s and Rough Sleeping Partnership lead, said:

“Bristol is a compassionate city and people often ask how they can make a difference. This one city approach means we are all working towards the same goal: to support the most vulnerable people off our streets and into accommodation.

“We’re asking people to donate the SOS Bristol campaign, and also to volunteer their time and spread the word about contacting if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough so we can help them move into safe shelter off the streets.”

The four shelters are free to clients, with donations going towards running costs, laundry bills and volunteer expenses – visit our Fundsurfer page to find out more.

Aspect Films have made short films to help publicise the campaign available on the Fundsurfer page.

Barbara Owens features in the film and has had experience of sleeping rough in Bristol. She said: “I was scared to be integrated back into society. I was an alcoholic at my lowest point. I had lost my family, my home, my job, my dignity and my friends. I spent my time wandering the streets looking for somewhere to sleep. It was a tough and lonely time.

“I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t somehow mustered up the strength to ask for help. My one wish for anyone struggling with homelessness is to find the courage to put your hand out and ask for help. It’s the hardest thing, believe me.”


Calling all Christmas present wrappers!Bristol-Energy-FINAL-LOGO-CMYK-for-web

We are on the hunt for volunteers who are great at wrapping presents, to help us at the Caring in Bristol pop-up Christmas Wrap Shop, which will be based at the Bristol Energy shop at the Harbourside.

The Wrap Shop will be open from 10am-4pm on December 3rd/4th, 10th/11th, and 17th/18th, and there is space for lots of volunteers!

Members of the public will be giving us small donations in return for us wrapping their presents.

We’d also LOVE donations of high-quality wrapping materials.

If you’re able to join us, or you’d like to give us some wrapping paper, please email or call Ben on 0117 9244 444.

City Hall opens its doors to donations of warm winter coats

We’re very pleased to announce that City Hall is opening its doors to donations of warm winter coats as part of an appeal for rough sleepers and #homeless people.

If members of the public have waterproof/warm/good quality winter coats that they can donate, we’re asking them to bring them to the reception at the front of City Hall between now and the end of November. All coats will then be brought to us to give out to homeless and vulnerable people during Caring at Christmas #CAC16.

During #CAC16 the shelter is incredibly busy, and in previous years people have bought coats to us all through November and December, which meant lot of interruptions during the day for us, and also a lack of space as we had to use so much to store the coats. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to manage the delivery of donations all in one go, and will give us more time to do more work at the shelter on other tasks than usual.

Many people have an extra coat hanging in their wardrobe/by the front door that they haven’t worn for a couple of years – and as long as they’re warm/waterproof/good quality, we can give them to homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol who will hugely appreciate it.  

Matt Dowse, Charity Director, Caring in Bristol said; “It’s fantastic that City Hall are running this initiative. The number of rough sleepers have increased, so if you’ve got a spare warm or waterproof coat that you can donate to us, the homeless and vulnerable people of Bristol will truly appreciate it.”

Jessica Randen, Business Support Officer at Bristol City Council, came up with the idea of starting the collection, and commented that; “Until I began working for Bristol City Council, I had not realised the magnitude of the housing crisis. It became very clear that homelessness and rough sleeping in Bristol are major problems. The number of people rough sleeping has more than doubled from 41 in 2014 to 97 in 2015, despite a range of initiatives in the city to try and prevent this from happening. The city’s night shelters do a fantastic job providing support and a bed to people who find themselves on the streets, and I really wanted to do something to help. As the weather starts to get colder, I am hoping staff at the council can all come together to provide some extra warmth for the people forced to sleep rough in the city.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said;This is a great example of the momentum and resource we can bring together, working as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. If you have a winter coat you no longer need or one that’s been hanging at the back of your wardrobe for a little while, please consider dropping it off at City Hall to help some of Bristol’s most vulnerable residents.”

October 2016 news

Caring in Bristol launches its annual festive campaignrsz_2-caring-at-christmas_72dpi

Yes, we know it’s still October, but we PROMISE we have a good reason to start talking about Christmas!

We’ve just launched Caring at Christmas 2016, providing warm safe accommodation, food and social activities to homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol between 3pm on 24th December and 10am on 1st January.

Last year the project welcomed around 250 guests each day, providing 70 beds and serving 4,581 hot meals over 11days. This was made possible by up to 1,000 people from all over the South West of England volunteering their time and donating clothing, food and funds.

Because so many people volunteer with us, and because applicants are asked to provide references and to do a training session, we need applications in ASAP so that there is plenty of time to get all the training shifts done before we hit the festive season.

Last year we unfortunately had to turn some people down because they applied too close to Christmas.

Here are the top things you should know if you’d like to volunteer…

  1. You must be over 18.
  1. You will have to be able to do at least two shifts at the shelter during the Caring at Christmas opening times.
  1. Volunteers can choose to be ‘guest-facing’, where they interact with the people staying at the shelter, and do things like chat, play board games, help with the laundry and provide some support.
  1. There is also a ‘non-guest-facing’ option for volunteers helping in the kitchen or with other duties.
  1. Volunteers come from all across the UK, including Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Swindon, Reading, Taunton, London, Cardiff and even from as far as Edinburgh – the further afield volunteers have usually come to visit friends or relatives in the South West for Christmas.
  1. If you’re interested, please complete an online application form ASAP. Please note that all volunteers must attend training and provide written references, as these are essential to carrying out voluntary work with us.
  1. Training is happening already, and will be taking place every Sunday – but you do have to sign up for your chosen shifts first, and be accepted, and then you can pick a date to do your training.

August 2016 news

Caring in Bristol teams up with Bristol EnergyBristol-Energy-FINAL-LOGO-CMYK-for-web

Bristol-based homeless charity Caring in Bristol has announced its charitable partnership with a new electricity and gas company called Bristol Energy. Bristol Energy is owned by the City Council and was set up to be a force for social good – championing social equality, local renewables and stronger communities.

It has been set up to help people pay less for their energy, and unlike traditional utility companies, it will reinvest its profits back into the city. The company is saving its customers around £200 a year on average on their energy bills.

Bristol Energy is setting up partnerships with local charities so that people can donate to good causes as they switch their energy provider.

The company will donate £30 to Caring in Bristol for every person who joins them for both their gas and electricity, and £15 if they choose to swap either gas or electric.

A £30 donation will allow Caring in Bristol to;

  • Provide three hot meals to three vulnerable people over Christmas
  • Help fund a volunteer mentor to give advice and support to those in need
  • Do 30 sets of washing and drying at the Julian Trust shelter for Caring at Christmas
  • Pay for electricity to make 120 cups of tea – which is one morning’s supply of tea for the homeless during Caring at Christmas
  • Produce, print and distribute 30 copies of The Survival Handbook – a guide that provides useful information to people who need help in Bristol, whether they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Matt Dowse, Charity Director, Caring in Bristol commented; “Everyone’s looking for a great deal from their energy provider, and people want value for money and to know that they are dealing with a reputable company. Bristol Energy is giving you the opportunity to donate a meaningful amount of money to Caring in Bristol, and they are also ensuring that all the money you pay for your energy bills is going back into our local economy.”

Peter Haigh, MD of Bristol Energy, added; “We believe that everyone has the right to a warm home, but for those people who do find themselves living on the street, charities like Caring in Bristol provide a real lifeline. It’s very easy to switch your energy provider and save money. And now you can raise money too.”


It’s really easy to change provider – simply go online. Or call: 0808 281 2222 and quote the marketing code CARING002 to make the donation.

July 2016 news

Growing for Bristol launches to help feed the homeless

Bristol-based homeless charity Caring in Bristol is launching a community project today called ‘Growing for Bristol’, which aims to provide fresh produce for homeless projects in the city, including Caring at Christmas and Bristol Nightstop.

The project is launching in partnership with The Salvation Army and the YMCA. Growing for Bristol aims to;

  • Grow produce all year round for homeless projects in Bristol
  • Ask people in Bristol who grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens and allotments, to donate some of their crops to homeless projects in the city
  • Encourage people who don’t currently grow anything to get on board too
  • Run volunteer gardening sessions throughout the spring and summer
  • Engage with young people who use the organisations’ services and encourage them to get involved
  • Partner with other organisations in both the growing/gardening and homelessness/young people support sectors
  • Distribute surplus produce to projects across Bristol.


Growing in Bristol is kicking off with three plots at The Salvation Army’s Logos House and a small-scale urban growing project in the courtyard of the YMCA at The Station.

If you’re interested in growing produce for the project, or if you’d like to come along to one of our volunteer meet ups, please email Laura at

You can contribute pictures and news about the fruit and veg you’re growing via the hashtag #growforbris on Twitter and Facebook. Caring in Bristol’s Twitter is @caringinbristol and the Facebook page is here.

Marianne Swift, Caring in Bristol, Development and Partnerships Lead commented; “We developed Growing for Bristol with the Salvation Army and the YMCA as a way of engaging with the large number of growers and gardeners in Bristol, and the many people who want to help the homeless in the city. This is a way for people to get involved on whatever level suits them, either by growing fruit and veg in their own gardens or allotments, or by coming along to the community plots to volunteer.