With temperatures set to plummet, volunteers at three venues in Monmouth hope this week to welcome the first ‘guests’ to the town’s new Night Shelter scheme.

The 35 volunteers, ranging in age from 20s to 80s, are on standby to provide hot meals and overnight accommodation for up to six rough sleepers on three nights of the week.

The shelters at Ty Price, the Baptist Church and Wyesham Christian Fellowship will be operational from now until 1st March, traditionally the coldest weeks of the year.

If the project proves a success, it could be extended to more days and more venues.

Ty Price co-ordinator Steve Price, who is a volunteer with the scheme, said: “It’s very difficult to know how many people are sleeping rough at any given time, particularly as some may be just travelling through the area. We’re equipped for six people at each venue.

“There’s been a bit of a delay in getting things off the ground while we’ve been waiting for risk assessments to be undertaken, DBS checks for volunteers, hygiene certificates for food preparation and so on, but all that’s been sorted out.

“The important thing now is getting the word out on the street that the scheme is up and running.

“We’ve had a lot of help in setting this up from people running similar projects in Caerphilly and Hereford.

“Depending on the demand we might be able to extend the number of venues. Volunteers from St Mary’s and the Methodist Church are already supporting the project at the three existing venues and there might be other groups in the town that could get involved.”

The night shelters will operate on Wednesdays at Wyesham Christian Fellowship, Thursdays at the Baptist Church and Fridays at Ty Price.

Access will be via the council’s Housing Options team, who have someone on duty every day. This also provides an opportunity for the council to provide advice and assistance and assess any individuals under the council’s homeless-related duties.

People using the facilities will receive a hot evening meal, be allocated a camp bed with a duvet and have a cooked breakfast next morning.

A spokesman for MCC said: “The council was and is very supportive of the churches’ aspirations and intentions in regards to rough sleepers, as it effectively increases homeless-related provision in Monmouthshire.

“The project supports both Welsh Government’s desire to increase measures to support rough sleepers and the council’s aims of increasing homeless prevention and improving homeless provision in Monmouthshire.”

With the launch of the pop-up night shelters, Monmouth Churches Housing Group is also looking at ways of providing temporary accommodation, in a town where the high cost of rented properties limits the council’s options.