Glass Door Winter Shelter Update

Update – January 2022

It is with a heavy heart that Glass Door has taken the decision not to open communal night shelters this winter. Unfortunately, despite all their best efforts over many months to provide a COVID-safe environment, staff and trustees felt the risks are too great. The transmissibility of the new Omicron variant and the related changes to self-isolation rules were important factors in their decision. However our local team in Richmond continues to offer take-away soup and sandwiches two days a week (see below).

Richmond Team Soup Kitchen – December 2021

Just over a month ago we were told that there would be a delay to opening the GlassDoor night shelters for this coming winter. As the temperature drops this week it brings home how important support is for those who struggle to keep warm and healthy. There is no change as yet to the GlassDoor situation, but the good news is that our local team in Richmond has started a take-away soup and sandwich offering two
days a week. It’s not a warm place to sleep, but it is warm food and human connection. The service runs from St John the Divine Church in Richmond and takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5-6pm.

Thank you to Waitrose for providing ingredients.
If you would like to volunteer please contact

St Mary’s Barnes Youth Group supports the Annual Glass Door Sleepout – October 2021

St Mary’s, Barnes Youth Worker, Julie Smith, writes:

The annual Glassdoor Sleepout took place on Friday, 1st October with a reduced number of campers at the main Duke of York Square site following covid, which gave the opportunity for volunteers to set up satellite camps such as the little gathering of teens at the church. We started the evening with a candlelit compline in the Langton Chapel led by Revd James, with a reading from Charlie. It was a contemplative and calming atmosphere which was much appreciated by us all as we considered the evening ahead. Thank you to Wendy for her help with organising the practicalities for it. Having moved outside we settled down by our tent. It was certainly quite surreal to be sitting on cardboard outside the church while lots of people were walking the red carpet into the neighbouring Olympic Cinema for the premiere weekend of the new Bond film.

Being out in the cold and the dark while people went about their lives gave us a chance to think about what it truly means to be homeless. For most of us the ending of nearly all the pandemic restrictions has been a joyous time allowing us to reunite with family and friends, take holidays and return to work. In short, we are experiencing some normality for the first time in 18months. Sadly, for some, however, it brings the increased potential for homelessness as specific support packages are coming to an end. It could be a young person who has recently left the care system, terrified and alone. It could be a woman fleeing an abusive partner, physically bruised and mentally shattered. It could be someone who lost their job in the pandemic and can no longer afford the rent, humiliated and defeated. It could be a refugee recently arrived in the UK who is struggling to navigate the complex welfare system, confused and homesick. The homeless have many faces and the truth is that many of the people who end up on the streets are not that different from ourselves.

In just a couple of hours we could begin to comprehend the physical discomforts of rough sleeping, however, we were only a few steps away from running water, flushing toilets, electric lights, and an endless supply of hot chocolate, so we were never going to experience the true vulnerabilities of the homeless. After a night spent partly outside, and in the early hours of the morning, on the hard floors inside the church where we had a roof over our heads, we do feel a greater compassion for the vulnerability of rough sleepers. Rough sleeping is a dangerous and isolating experience. People sleeping rough are more likely to be victims of crime and violence. Women are particularly vulnerable with nearly 1 in 4 having been sexually assaulted while on the streets. Additionally, many rough sleepers develop addictions with drugs or alcohol, or mental health issues. In 2019, the average age for a rough sleeper at death was just 44 years for men and 42 years for women.

Glassdoor are an amazing charity and the organisation makes a huge difference to the homeless providing them with practical support and hope. It was a privilege for us in BYG to show our support. Several people passing by on Friday night stopped to talk to us and we hope that we have helped to spread awareness and raised some funds.

Glass Door Update from the Richmond Team Ministry – October 2021

On Monday 4th October there was a Zoom meeting with volunteer co-ordinators where GlassDoor chief executive Lucy Horitz told us that the start of the season in Richmond is going to be delayed. We were very cheered last summer when government principles were published allowing for rotating night shelters to take place this winter, where there is need in a local area. Despite this and despite stringent planned safety measures, local public health teams have not been supportive of night shelters reopening in their boroughs. GlassDoor trustees have been weighing up the health, reputational and legal risks of opening and will make a final decision on Monday 11 October. In all likelihood, GlassDoor will need to start the shelters on a staggered basis, with Kensington & Chelsea and Wandsworth opening in November and others hopefully opening after Christmas. To meet guest need it is important that there is one circuit operating north of the river and one south, with Wandsworth being more suitable over Richmond as many guests travel from Lambeth. This staggered start will provide an opportunity to evaluate data on demand for the shelters, as well as their success and safety.

This is, of course, hugely disappointing for everyone here in Richmond, but it is not something that we can change. For GlassDoor these are hugely important decisions and much is at stake. Volunteers and churches might want to write to their local MP/the media etc, but GlassDoor asks us not to do that right now. At present they’re working hard to manage the relationships with local authorities and although grateful for the offer, they urge people to hold off from doing so at present.

Regardless of what happens with church night shelters, GlassDoor will continue with their 55-bed hostel at Paddington from mid-November to early May, as well as the casework support they put in place to help people into stable employment and accommodation. And the Vineyard Centre will be up and running with daytime support, as well as other local initiatives.

Glass Door Pandemic Update from Richmond Team Ministry – September 2021


MP Sarah Olney Meets with Glassdoor Volunteers – 25th June 2021

Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Sarah Olney visited St John the Divine, Richmond to meet local Glass Door Homeless Charity coordinators and volunteers and to learn more about the 3 churches of Richmond Team Ministry’s support for homeless people.

Thank You from Glass Door – 4 May 2021

It’s been a challenging year for so many of us, but Glass Door has been blessed to continue receiving the generous support of the church communities in the deanery throughout this difficult time. Together, we are making life better for the many individuals we call our guests.

Glass Door Update – 17 March 2021

In the last 4 months, over 6,750 meals have been served at our community dinner service, run in partnership with local churches. These meals have been served by our lovely volunteers.
Thanks to all who have kept this service running during the pandemic!

But it’s not just a case of feeding the hungry. In the last nine months, Glass Door have offered advice and support to over 1,113 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Click here to read some of the stories.

Glass Door Meal Service at the Vineyard – 19 February 2021

Volunteers from St John the Divine, Richmond helping at the Vineyard Centre.

Glass Door Meal Service Starts – 9 November 2020

Click here to donate to Glass Door. Click here to find out more about the Dinner Service.

Homeless charity Glass Door usually operates a circuit of homeless night shelters in Richmond & Twickenham, including at St John the Divine and St Matthias, Richmond and Christ Church and All Saints, East Sheen. Due to COVID-19 the communal shelters cannot be operated this year so instead, to offer some form of support and respite, a 7-night a week hot food service will operate from the Vineyard Richmond from Monday 9 November until April. Guests will be able to access a hot meal, somewhere to warm up for a few hours and practical support from the Glass Door case workers.

As the night shelter network stopped back in March, we now need help in spreading the word to those who could benefit from the service. If you see someone regularly sleeping rough in your neighbourhood we’d really appreciate it if you could print and share this leaflet to let them know the service is available. Glass Door is an amazing charity and alongside the emergency services like the food services they have a fantastic record of helping people into long term accommodation.

Click here to read more about Glass Door’s plans for the winter 20/21.

Click above picture to find out how to join in this year’s Sleep Out (or In) appeal.

Rev James Hutchings is Sleeping Out in October

Rev James writes:
“Glass Door do brilliant work, I’m so blessed to have a roof over my head, and I’d like others to have the same chance. So, on 2 October 2020, I will be joining Glass Door Homeless Charity’s Sleep Out to bring shelter and support to men and women affected by homelessness.

I’m raising money for Glass Door because I know they are doing good work to support and shelter those in our community who are at an absolute crisis point. Glass Door welcomes everyone as their guest, giving them some stability before helping them make the necessary steps and move off the streets for good.

While running winter night shelter in a shared space may not be possible, Glass Door is committed to finding ways to ensure that individuals in need can find safe shelter, a hot meal and a warm welcome.”

Click here if you would like to sponsor him.

It’s not too late to take part yourself, either sleeping out at Duke of York Square (still allowed with covid regulations) or in your own garden with a virtual livestream to join in with.

Rev James Hutchings from St Mary’s, Barnes spent the night of 2nd October sleeping on the rectory floor instead of the usual gathering in for the Glassdoor annual sleepout in Duke of York Square.  He hoped that even that mild discomfort would sharpen his awareness of of what it must be like to be homeless in London on a night of terrible rain and what it must be to not have a secure place to live.

From Rev Anne Nickson, Richmond Team Ministry – 18th May:

At the beginning of lockdown, as our churches were required to close, we were unable to continue to offer accommodation in our buildings as part of Glass Door’s Winter Night Shelter. Thankfully the government stepped in to work with homeless charities to provide accommodation to protect these most vulnerable people and keep them safe as the crisis deepened. Sadly, this government aided assistance came to an end as lockdown began to ease and as you will be aware the numbers of homeless sleeping rough on our streets is increasing by the day.

This desperate situation will only continue to worsen as we move towards the winter and we obviously are eager to continue to support Glass Door in appropriate ways so that both guests and volunteers stay safe. At the moment – and the situation constantly changes – it seems very unlikely that night shelters as we have offered them in our churches over the last three years will be able to open, but there will be opportunities to support the homeless by working with Glass Door in other ways. Our coordinators are keeping in regular contact with the directors at Glass Door so that when the time is right we can step up and offer the help which is needed.

If you would like to know more about Glass Door then please see their website at

GlassDoor is starting to plan night shelters for the 2020-2021 season – they may not be operating rotating shelters as usual in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, but are working hard to think about alternatives.

At our January synod meeting we agreed to give £2,000 to Glass Door to support the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons of their work in Richmond churches and their letter of thanks is below.

Update From Glassdoor – 23rd March

Shelter guests now all moved to hotels! (Apart from a few guests in the Kensington and Chelsea circuit) Glass Door shelters shut so all guests and volunteers can safely go into self-isolation.

Update From the Vineyard Community Centre – 23rd March

We are pleased to say that the government’s initiative to temporarily home rough sleepers in hotels has been initiated in Richmond and that the higher health risk of the Glassdoor winter nightshelter has now closed.

With others, we will continue to support the needs of this group with food and essentials as they now also have the possibility of staying indoors.

Our borough foodbank service continues and is very likely to increase in demand. We are in touch with our local authority to see how vulnerable groups can best be supported.

Winter 2019-20

The winter night shelters are now open until April 2020. In the Richmond Circuit the following churches will be hosting one night each week:

Sundays at St Marys, Ferry Road,Teddington
Mondays at St Elizabeths, The Vineyard, Richmond
Tuesdays at Vineyard Life Church, The Vineyard, Richmond
Wednesdays at All Saints, East Sheen Avenue, East Sheen
Thursdays at St John the Divine, Kew Road, Richmond
Fridays at Christ Church, Christ Church Road, East Sheen
Saturdays at St Matthias, Friars Stile Road, Richmond

St Michael and All Angels will host one night of the Hammersmith circuit. (A circuit is a group of 7 churches – close together in distance – who open their doors, on the same night every week, from October – April, each year offering the homeless a hot meal and a bed for the night.)

Please prayer for the men and women who will stay at the shelters and for the the volunteers and caseworkers that will help the guests to better lives.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Megan Preston ( For enquiries about donations and anything financial, please contact Ian Foster (

Individuals looking for shelter will be able to register online, by phone or by dropping into the Vineyard Community Centre. Visit for more details.

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough, you can send an alert via StreetLink who connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

On Sunday 2nd February, St Mary Magdalene reported:

After the first 60 days of this Glass Door Homeless Charity season, 422 men and 88 women have been helped with a hot meal and a bed for the night – a 20% increase thanks to a 5th circuit.

Since June 2018 caseworkers have worked with 950 individuals and helped 114 into housing and 38 into employment.

Would you be able to provide any of the following for our Glass Door guests (travel size particularly wanted): deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, face wipes, body wipes, sanitary towels, tampons, lip balm, hand cream, anti-bac gel. Please pop into the baskets at the back of St John’s or St Matthias or them into the Parish Office, Ormond Road. Thank you.

Waitrose have kindly donated oranges which have been made into delicious Marmalade, which went on sale at church this morning with profits going to Glass Door.

The Glass Door team at St John the Divine who opened their doors on 7th November

Our first evening of the new night shelter season with Glass Door. Delicious butternut squash soup, lasagne, red cabbage and peas, lots of donated fresh bread, chocolate crispy cakes made by a local school and cakes made by one of our church families.

We welcomed 20 guests in from the cold, for a hot healthy meal and somewhere safe to sleep. Case workers are on hand to support the guests in their next steps.

Thank you all for showing God’s love in action

All Saints and Christ Church, East Sheen thank Waitrose for their generous contribution towards the costs of the Glass Door night shelters.

Sleep Out 2019

On Friday 4th October more than 320 individuals slept outside at Duke of York Square in Chelsea to raise funds to run the network of local emergency winter shelters for people experiencing homelessness.
They included Rev James Hutchings from St Mary’s, Barnes (right) and our Archdeacon John Kiddle.

The total raised to date has reached over £191,000 – the highest amount raised within a week after the event, which has taken place the first Friday of October every year since 2013. Glass Door is hoping to surpass the £200,000 target before the end of the month.

Winter 2018-19

The winter night shelter project in across the deanery in partnership with GlassDoor was hosted by St Matthias and St John the Divine in Richmond and All Saints and Christ Church in East Sheen. The project has now ended and the shelters are empty…..

The work continues throughout the year click here to find out how NextDoor are looking ahead to next winter.

  1. Glass Door Update to Deanery Synod 5th June 2019
  2. We had 158 guests in our shelters – ⅓ from the UK, ⅓ from the EU and ⅓ from the rest of the world . Guests included 58 women, the highest percentage of the four circuits. However some women would just come for the meal and then go..
  3. 35 people have been rehoused.
  4. Large numbers have been reconnected with benefits and family.
  5. The Glass Door project was mentioned in a recent council meeting. This year the council have been very supportive of the project unlike three years ago.
  6. Issues arising this year that GlassDoor are addressing for next year:
    1. Need to consider disabled access
    2. Need to make closer links with women’s refuges
    3. Training in mental health issues so issues with guests can be spotted. It was noted the police needed training as well as the volunteers.
  7. The Deanery hosted 4 out of the 7 nights in the Richmond circuit and the level of volunteering has been wonderful.

One guest was quoted as saying “I had no home and lost my business but GlassDoor turned my life around”.

As the GlassDoor shelters closed in April, Father Peter Hart asked us to pray…

…for the guests who may have returned to sleeping rough or sofa-surfing.

… for all those who have been rehoused, found work, had their benefits sorted out, put back in contact with family, had their documents restored – a blessing for them.

…for the staff and volunteers at the Vineyard Centre, Richmond as they continue to offer support and practical help throughout the year.

We should also give thanks….

…for the amazing volunteers who have made the winter night shelter project in partnership with GlassDoor possible‏.

…for an amazing community response to the project. Not just from the Churches but from the wider community and local schools.

…five months of welcome, fine food and good company