Birmingham Christmas Shelter is a local charity that has raised funds and recruited volunteers each year since 1974 to provide local homeless and other adults who would be alone at Christmas, with a free warm, safe place to eat, shower, sleep and enjoy Christmas. Each year we open our doors for 24 hours a day for several days and nights during the Christmas week and publish the venue we use on this website.
The services we offer would simply not exist without the kindness and support of local people and local businesses. Those who wish to share Christmas with us do not need a referral and can just turn up any time of the day or night while we are open, bringing their dogs if they wish They will receive a warm welcome but must agree to keep to our rules of behaviour that ensure it is a happy, safe place for all.
Each year an average of 120 people a day, a mixture of regular guests and new faces, are provided with three hot meals, sandwiches and snacks. This is despite local restaurants, pubs and churches who also open their doors on an ad hoc basis to provide free food in Birmingham city centre. At night the numbers sleeping over with us average 50 men and 5 women.
Apart from our amazing team of 250 trained volunteers who range from age 16 to 90, several service providers such as hairdressers, chefs, chiropodists, chiropractors, arts and crafts teachers, counsellors, aromatherapists and entertainers come in each year and give their time and skills for free. We are always keen to hear from people able to offer services we could use. Anyone who would like to be a volunteer for Shelter Week should keep an eye on our website as registration normally opens on 1st November with training provided late November/early December.
Fundraising continues to feature strongly during the year as we receive no public funding. Even with a negligible spend on administration, it is essential for us to fund key aspects of our services as well as offset increases in our costs because some of our corporate suppliers have had to cut back on what they give us. Cash donations are particularly useful as they pay for the heating of the building, insurances, hire of security, groceries and hire and storage of essential equipment.
We do receive excellent support from many commercial catering equipment, food and grocery suppliers, Birmingham City Council’s Commercial Waste Department, hygiene suppliers, individuals and local businesses to our call for donations in cash or goods. Nothing is wasted and leftover items are either passed onto other local charities or kept for our fundraising activities.
Our guests are always grateful for the kindness shown to them by the people of Birmingham over Christmas when many of the services they rely on all year, take a well deserved break and shut down. They know that some of them would not survive the winter months ahead without your generosity that builds up their health and resilience.
Assisting local people who have fallen on hard times, makes us an attractive option for local people to adopt as their charity to support. This website gives details of how you can make a contribution.