Weston’s first Night Assessment Centre given green light by council

PUBLISHED: 09:25 13 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 13 October 2018

Lead coordinators Hillary Coombes and Liona Hurst with YMCA’s Joe Heslop.	Picture: Eleanor Young

Lead coordinators Hillary Coombes and Liona Hurst with YMCA’s Joe Heslop. Picture: Eleanor Young

Eleanor Young

A provision to help Weston’s rough sleepers get off the streets at night and get their lives back on track has been approved by North Somerset Council.

Lead coordinators Hillary Coombes and Liona Hurst with YMCA’s Joe Heslop.	Picture: Eleanor YoungLead coordinators Hillary Coombes and Liona Hurst with YMCA’s Joe Heslop. Picture: Eleanor Young

The team behind the town’s first night assessment centre (NAC) have been jumping for joy this week after getting the go-ahead from the authority to set up the much-needed temporary centre.

The NAC will be based at Somewhere To Go, in Boulevard, each night and will have enough room to house up to 10 people.

There has been a plea to create the necessary provision for the homeless since January when a social media campaign saw good Samaritans come forward to deliver blankets, warm clothes and food to the town’s rough sleepers.

An emergency night shelter was also set up at the Quakers’ Meeting House, in High Street, during the March snow storms.

Lead coordinators Hillary Coombes and Liona Hurst with YMCA’s Joe Heslop.	Picture: Eleanor YoungLead coordinators Hillary Coombes and Liona Hurst with YMCA’s Joe Heslop. Picture: Eleanor Young

Now after months of hard work and fundraising, the night assessment centre is set to open its doors for up to five months for the first time at the end of October or beginning of November.

Project manager Penny Hynds said: “We are delighted we have permission and this means we can get ahead of the cold weather.

“Two co-ordinators have been appointed and we are now making the necessary improvements to make sure this runs safely and well.

“We are all really pleased this is a goer and we want to create something safe which will grow over time.”

Work is taking place at Somewhere To Go to make safety improvements to the stage, install CCTV cameras and lay down comfortable flooring to create a safe and welcoming environment.

Volunteers are being trained in preparation for the opening, with the centre set to open from 9.30pm-8am seven days a week under the leadership of co-ordinators Liona Hurst and Hillary Coombes.

Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale, who has been heavily involved with the appeal for the centre, said: “This is a giant step forward in care for those who are homeless and rough sleeping in our town.

“In fact, a night centre is something which Weston has never had and this new proposal tells us much about the hearts and generous nature of residents who have come to together with the support of North Somerset and Weston Town Council to make this a reality.”

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