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07 Jan 2016

Tahmina’s Christmas blog

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NSNO Assessment and Reconnection Worker Tahmina shares her experience of working at an NSNO assessment hub on Christmas day
 
An unusually quiet night at NSNO

It was Christmas night, and all was quiet in the hub.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

That’s how my night shift at Christmas felt, being accustomed to the busy shifts and bustling environment of the assessment hub.  Walking into the hub space at the start of my shift at 10pm, the quietness gave the impression of the holiday slump: some clients were in the garden space chatting and smoking; some clients were resting; some clients were gathered around the brightly covered tables eating and chatting.  One thing that struck me was, despite there being plenty of client’s belongings in the hub and the collection of tables set, it was relatively empty.

Crisis at Christmas

This time of year is also ‘Crisis at Christmas’ an annual event which many of our clients attend for the activities, such as the T-shirt making one client spoke of, and hot food.  Last year I worked at the hub during the day and I remember the ebb and flow of people coming and going – one minute the hub was full of lots of clients, the next it was silent as they had gone into the shuttlebuses heading towards the Crisis Christmas celebrations.

Normally by 1am we have had a few new people come into the service, but tonight there were no new faces.  Even some of the faces we’d usually see about were out, spending time with friends and family.

There was a noticeable buzz in the hub – those that celebrated Christmas felt the specialness of the night.  For others, it was just another night.  Given the open space of the hub, it was important as a member of staff to ensure everyone’s beliefs were respected: those who wanted to celebrate were given the space to, and those who wanted a restful night were allowed to do so.

The difference a clean pair of socks can make

Christmas is always a strange time of year at No Second Night Out, it’s a juxtaposition of busy and quiet.  Statutory services are starting to wind down for the holidays so the work we can do to assist our clients into accommodation starts slowing down, sometimes until after the New Year as local authority housing workers have taken annual leave.  In contrast, we are busy receiving various donations from members of the public and organisations: from clothing, toiletries, full Christmas dinners (donated by a local care home) to the Aldi trailer that visited the hub with hot drinks and festive nibbles!

If anyone does wish to donate to NSNO, donations are welcomed throughout the year.  Socks and underwear in particular are always needed – it’s amazing to see how grateful people are for something as small as a fresh pair of socks and clean underwear after being on the streets.

To donate to NSNO email enquiries@nosecondnightout.org.uk

 

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