Weston-super-Mare’s homeless people will get more support thanks to £200k YMCA grant

PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 March 2017

The YMCA's base in Weston-super-Mare town centre.

The YMCA's base in Weston-super-Mare town centre.

Archant

A Weston charity which supports homeless people in the town says it is ‘blown away’ after receiving a grant worth more than £200,000 to support its work.

The Somerset Coast branch of the YMCA has been awarded £209,140 for its Weston Rough Sleeping project by the national Big Lottery Fund.

The money will be used to help people sleeping rough across Weston and North Somerset through the YMCA’s network of support for rough sleepers.

It means YMCA workers and volunteers will be able to go out into the town and offer support to people sleeping rough, alongside signposting rough sleepers to appropriate support and places of help.

Stephen Hooper was involved in the project’s development and played a major role in the application for Big Lottery funding.

He told the Mercury the application process had been difficult but worthwhile.

Stephen said: “It has been really hard to get the money – considering how important it is, it is impossible to find.

“It (the outreach work) is a really vital job and it is part of a patchwork quilt of resources for people who are either homeless, at risk of homelessness. We work with a lot of other agencies like St Mungo’s, Weston Churches Together, the NHS, the street pastors, PCSOs and North Somerset Council.”

The YMCA found accommodation for about 250 young people, vulnerable adults and families in North Somerset last year.

Stephen said the Weston rough sleeping project began life as a pilot scheme two years ago, but its future had not been sustainable since funding ran out last year.

He added: “The money (for the pilot scheme) ran out in April last year and we were limping along after that – it was not sustainable.

“Now we are ready to get it up and running again.

“The Big Lottery Fund said it was one of the best applications it had received.

“When they phoned me and said we had got it I was blown away.”

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