Weston’s night shelter closes due to lack of funding

Workers and volunteers with special guests at the official opening of the Weston Night Assessment Ce

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

A night shelter for rough sleepers in Weston has closed after reaching ‘crisis point’ due to a lack of funds.

Somewhere To Go’s night assessment centre, in the Boulevard, closed on Thursday and eight people were made redundant.

One-hundred rough sleepers who were being supported by the charity are currently being housed in B&Bs and hotels by North Somerset Council.

More: Weston’s night assessment centre officially opens.

Richard Nightingale, chairman of Somewhere to Go said: “Coronavirus has taken a terrible toll on the whole community.

“Charities and community services right across the country have suffered, with donations reduced and other priorities on council funding.

“Sadly, we reached crisis point last week when we were unable to cover the costs of running our homeless night service with the funding we receive and last Thursday we were forced to issue redundancy notices to the staff involved.

“Somewhere To Go was set up in 2000 to provide, literally, ‘somewhere to go’ for homeless and disadvantaged people.

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“We have provided a warm, safe refuge; hot food, showers, clean clothing and a listening ear for over 10 years to hundreds of very vulnerable people.

“This is an extremely sad day and an end of an era.”

Somewhere To Go Day built 18 pods inside the building earlier this year to make it more Covid secure, but despite this, the night assessment centre was unable to reopen.

A council spokesman said: “Somewhere To Go (STG) re-opened this summer and is offering food, showers and support to those is need on Monday to Friday 10.30am to 2pm.

“Last year North Somerset Council managed to successfully bid for Rough Sleeper Initiative funding for STG.

“This was to provide specific services such as a daily hub operating Monday to Friday with various agencies offering surgeries at St Johns Hall, as well as extending their opening hours and contributing to running costs of the night assessment centre and we are hopeful STG will be able to develop the full hub provision in the near future.

“The night assessment centre, as with all night shelters in the UK, remains closed in line with government and Public Health England (PHE) guidance and has not been able to re-open since March.

“More than 100 people were accommodated in local hotels and B&Bs and the council continues to support rough sleepers in this way.”