This was the 21st winter that the Care Shelter operated in Edinburgh.

It was another very successful season with an incredibly strong staff team, a huge effort from the churches and volunteer teams and the provision of 9,251 bed spaces. We are thankful that we were able to support so many people in crisis.

Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of Bethany Christian Trust said:

The Winter Care Shelter provided a lifeline for more people than ever, forced to sleep rough in Edinburgh last winter. A shortage of affordable housing, welfare reform and chronic poverty unfortunately make the shelter a necessity in modern day Scotland. We are immensely grateful to the 1000 volunteers who gave their time to provide this vital service to people in desperate need.

Here’s a breakdown of some our work from 2016-2017. You can also read the full Annual ReportĀ here.

Operational Context

The Care Shelter was open every night of the week from 9 October 2016 – 23 April 2017, one week longer than the previous season. There were 45 bed spaces available for 146 nights and this increased to 60 spaces for 50 nights from 15 December until 2 February.

Church & Volunteer Overview

Involved this season were 25 venues and over 1000 volunteers from 73 different catering teams; 67 churches and 6 non-church teams.


The staff team consisted of two team leaders, four full-time project workers and two part-time project workers. A part-time deputy manager was recruited to support the project for eight months.

Partnership Working

Nine agencies visited the Care Shelter over the winter period providing medical services and various forms of housing support and advice. Many people linked in with these services and accessed help that they would not have accessed independently.


706 individuals accessed the shelter during the 2016-17 season. An average of 48.8 people attended each night which resulted in 9,565 presentations. An average of 47 people stayed over per night.

Read the full Annual Report.