Once again, on 1 April, the Overnight Welcome Centre packed up our things and closed for the season. And what a season it was! It was busy, chaotic, and different. But overall, it was a success.
We were able to support 401 unique individuals throughout the season. Each with their own story and reason for needing our help. This year we increased our staff level to 14 and had the regular support of 16 volunteers. Volunteers gave up around three hours of their week to come in and serve alongside us. Most of the volunteers have been a part of the winter project family since the Winter Night Shelter. They are incredible and we couldn’t provide the service without them. They are skilled and display great patience, with a clear passion for engaging with the people who come through our door.
To our volunteers, thank you for the sacrifice you made in coming to serve this year.
Considering we were running a 24-hour service, our staff team was extremely small. Shift patterns meant you could do the full season without seeing other team members but this didn’t matter – the team was united and became a family. Personally, I am super-biased about the winter project, however, there is something unique about the service and the way the team comes together. It must be God – there is no other explanation for it. How else does the perfect team come together each year? The team may be small, but what we realise is that it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. It just takes the right people, led by God.
To our staff team, thank you for the sacrifice you made in coming to serve this year.
We see throughout Scripture the right people being led by God. God was there in the midst of his people. Take the disciples – Jesus commissioned them to go out and proclaim the message He was bringing and gave them authority to cast out demons (Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19; Luke 6:12–16). God in person was leading them. Can you imagine what that was like? Would they have truly realised what was happening at the time? After the resurrection, we see the apostles continue to go out and spread the Good News. It didn’t take a lot, but they definitely made a difference. Without them and the sacrifices they made, we wouldn’t be where we are today. If you still need to be inspired, read Hebrews 11 and see what happened when God was leading the right people. Or go to John 6:1-15 and see the difference a young boy makes when he hands over five loaves and two fish to Jesus. It didn’t take a lot but it resulted in a miracle with five thousand people being fed.
This year, 96% of our guests moved into a positive outcome – whether that be accommodation through the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, the Home Office, returning home, or reuniting with family and friends. This is an incredible statistic and a testament to hard work that each staff member put into their role. Our guests were able to build trust with the team and knew they were safe whilst they stayed under our care. We have to trust that the little part we have played in their life has truly made a difference.
We now look forward to praying for Pam and Morag, our Housing Settlement Officers, as they continue the work of linking in with OWC guests. It’s not an easy task but all it takes is the right people!