About Jimmy’s

What is Jimmy’s?

Jimmy’s is a service for people who are homeless providing short-term, emergency accommodation, resettlement, support and daytime activities.

Who was Jimmy?

Jim Dilley was homeless in Cambridge for many years. When he died, Jimmy’s was set up in his memory (in 1995) to ensure that homeless people had an alternative to sleeping rough.

How many people stay at Jimmy’s?

We have space for 20 men and women. On average 300 different people stay each year. We also have space for up to two dogs.

Can anyone stay?

You have to be homeless, over 18 years and under 65 years of age and eligible for benefits.

What facilities does Jimmy’s have?

All bedrooms are single with en-suite. We have three private meeting rooms, one communal lounge/dining room (also used for group activities), a training room, main kitchen, training kitchen and courtyard. There are several computers with full internet access plus interactive touch screen information kiosks for guests to find out more about Jimmy’s and Cambridge. Jimmy’s is fully accessible to people with limited mobility.

What activities can guests do?

We provide a range of activities including learning, arts & crafts, sports, outings, cooking, music, films and regular meetings where guests can help us to shape our service.

What help is offered to guests?

Our priority is to help guests obtain more secure, settled accommodation, both in Cambridge and further afield. We have an experienced team that specialise in drug and alcohol, mental health, counselling and support for ex-service personnel, amongst other areas. We also welcome colleagues from other agencies including a nurse, chiropodist, HiV/Hep workers, drug and alcohol recovery workers, mental health teams, Samaritans and chaplaincy.

How long can people stay?

We aim to move people to their next accommodation within 28 days, but this will depend on availability of suitable accommodation and the guest’s particular needs and capability.

How much does Jimmy’s charge?

Everything is free to guests including meals and activities. All we ask in return is a willingness from the guest to work with us to find more suitable accommodation.

Who owns and runs Jimmy’s?

The building we are in is owned by Zion Baptist Church. Jimmy’s is an independent charity and runs the service offered to guests.


Who can volunteer?

Anyone over the age of 18.

Do I need special qualifications?

No – just an ability to get on with people and a willingness to get stuck in.

What do volunteers do?

Our volunteer team – of more than 200 people – help with so many different things including meals, cleaning, taking group activities, admin, helping out at events, fundraising, giving talks to external group, supporting guests on a one-to-one basis.

Do volunteers get training?

There is an initial meeting with the volunteer co-ordinator which covers more about Jimmy’s, orientation, activities for volunteers and lots of time for questions. Once a volunteer starts with us they are supported by existing volunteers and staff to ‘learn the ropes’. We also have an evening training programme covering topics such as mental health, drugs and alcohol, the work of the homeless agencies in Cambridge, HIV and physical health.

Who volunteers?

Our volunteer team comes from right across the community: health professionals, students, top business people, housewives, unwaged people, retired men and women, teachers, civil servants, artists, musicians, scientists and those who have previously been homeless.

How can I be a volunteer?

Please call us on 0845 6806085 or email to volunteer@jimmyscambridge.org.uk. Tell us about the sort of volunteering you might be interested in and we’ll set up a meeting with you. Once we’ve found a role suitable for you we’ll complete a registration form and apply for a Criminal Records Bureau check for you. This can take up to a couple of weeks – and then you can start.

I have a criminal record – can I still volunteer?

You are not automatically excluded from volunteering – you may well have the sort of experience and insight that can help our guests. However, if you have committed an offence against vulnerable adults you would not be able to volunteer at Jimmy’s.

I used to live at Jimmy’s – can I still volunteer?



Are you homeless?

How can I get a bed at Jimmy’s

Come to us or Cambridge Street Mental Health Outreach Team (at 125 Newmarket Road, Cambridge) and if we have a space, you are over 18 and in receipt of benefits we’ll give you a room.

I’m homeless and 17 – where do I go?

Anyone under the age of 18 should go to the City Council (Mandela House on Regent Street, Cambridge) or Centre 33 (33 Clarendon Street, Cambridge) or a Connexions Personal Adviser at a local Connexions centre. They will direct you to the right place for you. In an emergency ring the Cambridgeshire Call Centre on 0345 045 5200 (8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday or Social Care on 01733 234724 at all other times).

I have a tenancy but am scared to go back because I have an abusive partner – can I still come to Jimmy’s?

If you are a victim of domestic abuse you should report this to the police who may be able to help you get to a place of safety. If you don’t want to ‘grass’ you should still go to the police to have the abuse put on record – this will help us to find you other accommodation. In an emergency do come to Jimmy’s and we’ll see how we can help.

Jimmy’s is in a church building – I’m not a Christian, can I still come?

We welcome people of all faiths, and people who have no faith.

Where will you move me to?

It depends on where you are from and any particular needs you may have. Accommodation is very scarce in Cambridge so the next stage of accommodation is restricted to people who have a ‘local connection’ with the City. If you are not connected to Cambridge then we will try to find you somewhere to live in an area where you have spent time previously (at least 6 months in the last year) or have family there. There are exceptions: if you are particularly vulnerable because of, for example, health issues or you are fleeing violence we will try and get you settled in Cambridge.

I’m working – can I stay at Jimmy’s?

Yes – but depending on how much you are paid and the number of hours you work we will have to charge you a top-up rent. The amount varies enormously between individuals so we will advise you once we have all your details.



How does Jimmy’s meet its running costs?

We receive income from Cambridge City Council (housing benefit) for housing costs such as rent, lighting and heating, and Cambridgeshire County Council through Supporting People provides funding for a large proportion of staff support time. However, up to one third of our costs have to be met from other sources.

What are these other sources and where does the money go?

We rely on grants such as those from the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation for our welfare service and the Homelessness Transition Fund for staff, guest and volunteer training. We also receive generous support from local schools, universities, colleges and churches, community groups, individuals and businesses. This has gone towards activities for guests, equipment, food, staff time, plants for our courtyard and important, though ‘non-essential’ items such as dvds, arts materials, books and internal decorations.

Importantly, the running of Jimmy’s is only possible because of the time given to us by our volunteer team. On an annual basis this is valued at around £100,000.

Where did the money come from for the 2012 refurbishment?

The project secured £3 million from the Homes & Communities Agency ‘Places of Change’ programme. The department, part of central government, has a national programme of investment into the homeless sector that aims at helping people break out of the homelessness cycle. Cambridge City Council invested a further £500,000 in the project.

How can I make a donation?

There are lots of ways. If you have a look on the ‘donate’ pages of our website you’ll see you can donate on-line, through standing order, sending us a cheque, legacies or, if you have cash, by bringing it along to Jimmy’s.

How will my money be spent?

You can ask that your donation is invested in something specific such as guest outings, welfare, newspapers for guests or equipment/materials for guest activities. Or you can trust us to ensure that your donation is used for the benefit of guests in an area that is a ‘priority’ at that time.