Homeless woman who ‘nearly gave up hope’ gets second chance thanks to Weston-super-Mare night centre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 November 2018

Weston's Night Assessment Centre opens. Picture: Eleanor Young

Weston's Night Assessment Centre opens. Picture: Eleanor Young

Eleanor Young

A woman who slept behind a police station sees the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ after getting ‘invaluable support’ from the new centre for the homeless.

Keeley Thompson told the Mercury she will be ‘forever grateful’ to the volunteers at the Night Assessment Centre after they took her in.

The centre, based at Somewhere To Go in Boulevard, will open officially on Saturday but had a soft opening 10 days ago to make sure things go smoothly.

The 36-year-old spent four months sleeping on the street after she was kicked out of her shared flat for having a friend come to visit.

Keeley moved to Weston from Grimsby after becoming a victim of cuckooing – when a drug dealer takes over a vulnerable person’s home.

She said: “I was getting really skinny, I got cuts which then got infected from sleeping on the floor and my immune system was bad.

“I was at the point where I could not take it anymore then this opened and now I don’t mind that I am out all day because it would have been even longer if the centre had not opened.

“I have somewhere to sleep, I am safe, I can get food and not be scared of being hit.

“I am putting things in place now.”

A new set of opportunities is opening to Keeley, who hopes to start a psychology course at college next year and help people like her.

Keeley added: “I have people willing to support me here and who believe in me.

“Before I was feeling worthless and at the giving up point but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The shelter has been a joint project with the churches, homeless charities including St Mungos and Somewhere To Go, YMCA and the public who have fundraised and worked long and hard to secure the funding and planning permission.

Co-lead coordinator Liona Hurst and co-project lead Barry Edwards said it was ‘surreal’ to see months of hard work finally pay off with the new centre opening.

They added: “This is a base for people to engage with services and it is our ambition to get this open for longer, first all night, all year round, and then to become a 24-hour day centre.

“We are meeting their basic needs here and from that they can start to look to the future and what they would like to achieve.”

The centre is open from 9.30pm-8.30am and has 11 beds which will be open until the end of February.

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