Weston charity reopens to help homeless during pandemic

John Penrose officially reopening Somewhere To Go.

John Penrose officially reopening Somewhere To Go. - Credit: Archant

A charity which helps homeless people in Weston-super-Mare is one of the first to reopen after building socially distanced pods for rough sleepers.

Almost all night shelters across the country are closed due to the pandemic, but Somewhere To Go Day and Night was desperate to reopen as soon as possible to enable vulnerable people to access its vital service.

The charity, in the Boulevard, reopened on Friday with 18 new pods to make the centre more resilient for the future.

Richard Nightingale, Chairman of Somewhere to Go, said: “Last year our day service at Somewhere to Go served approximately 4,000 meals to disadvantaged vulnerable adults, many of whom would not have had access to a hot meal without our service.

“It says much about the dedication of our volunteers and staff, that sadly after being forced to close during lockdown, they fought every day to ensure the service was reopened as soon as it was safe to do so.

“A big thank you to them and everyone that helped, especially Julie Shannon our day centre manager, who over saw all the Covid secure alterations needed.”

Around 30 homeless people were put up in B&Bs in North Somerset during the lockdown.

However, Somewhere To Go was desperate to reopen as soon as possible so vulnerable people could access the support they needed to rebuild their lives.

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The charity worked with Public Health England to build the pods and ensure the centre is Covid secure.

The modular pod sleeping units are some of the most advanced in the country and they will enable people to use the centre while still remaining socially distanced.

There are also four separate cubicles with toilets and showers.

Somewhere To Go has used its reserves to pay for the pods, which cost £50,000.

Richard Nightingale added: “The idea is to make the centre resilient for the future.

“We want to make sure we never have to close again because it was an awful decision to make.

“Please remember, if you haven’t yet got involved, you can support this valuable service at www.somewheretogo.org, every penny helps to support vulnerable people in Weston.”

Somewhere To Go was set up in 2000 and provides services, day and night, to help rough sleepers and disadvantaged and vulnerable adults.