'Successful' Weston homeless centre to become permanent?

PUBLISHED: 16:46 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:46 11 March 2019

Workers and volunteers with special guests at the official opening of the Weston Night Assessment Centre at Somewhere To Go.    

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Workers and volunteers with special guests at the official opening of the Weston Night Assessment Centre at Somewhere To Go. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

The 'truly incredible' transformations of some of Weston's rough sleepers has spurred volunteers to make the town's first night assessment centre a permanent fixture.

The Weston Night Assessment Centre, based at Somewhere To Go in Boulevard, opened on November 12 with 10 beds for the homeless.

Five months on, the centre has increased in size to 14 beds, dealing with 27 referrals, with 10 guests being placed into safe accommodation.

The night assessment centre management group and Somewhere To Go board are delighted with the success and have ‘ambitious plans’ for the future to enhance both day and night provision for the homeless and vulnerable in Weston.

The groups are seeking planning permission for change of use from North Somerset Council and will look for further opportunities to help work with other groups in the community.

Centre co-ordinator Liona Hurst – who recruits, trains and supports volunteers at the centre – said: “Since opening, the centre has supported many homeless individuals while they make significant life changes and engage with the relevant services and agencies long term.

“In just three months, the centre has helped secure safe and permanent accommodation for more than 10 guests who had previously been sleeping on the streets.

“The transformation from when a guest first arrives at the centre to when they are ready to be placed into their own accommodation is truly incredible.”

The centre not only provides shelter but guidance and encouragement for the guests to move on to a better place both physically and mentally.

Joint project leader Barry Edwards said: “I feel so connected to the people I have met and worked with over the year – a lovely family of individuals with a shared dream.”

Liona added: “The centre opened as a pilot scheme. However, we really are making a difference and changing lives for the better. Please help us to make the Weston Night Assessment Centre permanent by supporting our full planning application.”

An open meeting will be held from 5-6pm on March 21 and 11am to noon on March 30 to share its success and to give people the chance to find out more.

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