Safer Places of Worship

Night Shelters

Churches may wish to provide shelter to those who are homeless in their church buildings.

Night Shelters can constitute additional risks to the fabric of the church and its contents as well as the safety of any employees or volunteers and the residents themselves.

Before your church undertakes such a project you may wish to consider:

  • planning – you may require planning permission / change of building regulations from your local authority, as they may deem the night shelter to be a significant change to the use of the premises;
  • food hygiene - regulations state that food must be produced safely and hygienically. You must make sure that your premises are kept clean and they are properly equipped. Foods must be hygienically handled. Staff must be appropriately supervised and be instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters. For more information visit the Kitchens & Food section.
  • health and safety – in addition to the health and safety requirements for the church, you must carry out a full risk assessment for the night shelter. Please see the Risk Assessments page;
  • insurance – if your place of worship wishes to start a night shelter you must contact your insurance provider as you may not be covered under your church insurance for such an activity due to the high risks involved and you may need to seek additional cover.