About us

For over 25 years, Jimmy’s has been providing help to people experiencing homelessness in Cambridge. We work with local people, communities, organisations, and partners to deliver 24/7 emergency help, support and accommodation for those who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

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1995 - Jimmy’s opens

Jimmy’s opens its doors and Cambridge’s first all-year-round night shelter is born.

We’re often asked where our name came from. Jim Dilley was a known rough sleeper in the region who spent many of his nights under the bridge at junction 13 on the M11. Being hard of hearing meant he managed to get some sleep despite the noise.

Joan and Richard, Jimmy’s founders, knew him well and made it their mission to prevent others from suffering a similar plight.

Our charity was aptly named in his memory and his story inspired the bridge in our logo.

Our first guests arrive

Down in the basement, five shared dorms slept up to six people in bunk beds.

Although it was a bit cramped at times, our first guests were off the streets and kept warm, dry and well-fed.

Thanks to the commitment of staff and countless volunteers, funding from local authorities and donations from the supportive community, it stayed this way for well over a decade.

2010 Full refurbishment

In 2010 - 2012 we went through a major refurbishment.

We transformed our confined basement night shelter into a spacious, 24-hour service with 20 en-suite rooms, 6 of them shared, and extensive facilities for day time support activities.

This was a move away from the night shelter idea - a bed at night, on the streets by day - to a service that provides a 24 hour service, all day and all night, 7 days a week, with a wide range of support and engaging activities.

2012 - A royal seal of approval

We were honoured to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to officially open the new assessment centre, in a ceremony we’ll never forget.

William and Kate then toured the new facilities, taking time to talk with our guests, volunteers and staff.

2021 - Where we are now

We’re proud of our past and hopeful for our future. As well as our emergency accommodation on East Road, we run a residential Controlled Drinking Project for people recovering from alcohol addiction, 9 shared houses and 22 modular homes for people who need extra support.

We will continue to support people experiencing homelessness, while ultimately aiming to reduce and eliminate homelessness in Cambridge.

What the future holds

During these uncertain times, Jimmy’s remains open, fully supporting people in our centres and accommodation, and to new people who find themselves homeless.

We are an essential, key service, and our dedicated staff and volunteers remain committed to keeping our services running, and providing the extra help people need right now.

Who's Who

Jimmy's is overseen by a Board of Trustees made up of people from the local community, from organisations and from businesses, all with different skills and experience to bring. The Chair is Fiona Blake (pictured left). We are registered with the Charity Commission, more information can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information.

The day to day running of Jimmy's is led by Mark Allan, Chief Executive, and a team of talented and committed staff and volunteers.

I only want one simple thing: somewhere to live - everyone takes it so for granted, but once you have that everything else falls into place