Plans for 'homeless hub' revealed as council pledge £25k investment

PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 July 2019

Eleanor Young and Richard Nightingale presenting Penny Hynds, Liona Hurst, Barry Edwards and the team from Weston Night Assessment Centre with their Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award.      

Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Eleanor Young and Richard Nightingale presenting Penny Hynds, Liona Hurst, Barry Edwards and the team from Weston Night Assessment Centre with their Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

Thousands of pounds have been pledged to Weston's first homeless centre as charity organisers reveal plans to expand it.

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

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

The Weston Night Assessment Centre (NAC) has housed 17 rough sleepers and had 52 referrals since opening in November.

The people behind the centre, which is run under Somewhere To Go, hope to expand its offering to take over two ground-floor units on the Boulevard.

Somewhere To Go and the centre are both based within St John's Church Hall and include 12 beds, a kitchen, showers and bathroom facilities.

The move will see the charity take over the vacated eastern European supermarket and the soon-to-close Global Furniture Company, which is taking its offering online.

Weston Night Assessment Centre opened its doors during the bad weather last week.Weston Night Assessment Centre opened its doors during the bad weather last week.

Project leader Barry Edwards said: "The plan is to make this a homeless hub. We have the space and we are going to be taking over the ground floor this year and then we will look at what we can do with it.

"There is space to do an awful lot, we could move our day centre down there and have the upstairs as more accommodation and offices for the people we look after. The other agencies which are coming in will have more space and we are looking to team up with Weston College to do courses for the people who do come into us.

"So when they leave us they will have some sort of qualification - such as food hygiene, health and safety and first aid. It may become a good stepping stone to get people back into independent living and back to a normal life."

NAC co-ordinator Liona Hurst said: "We have extended our hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with agencies coming in from 8-10am, including the Citizens Advice Bureau and housing.

"People are asking for less time out on the streets and while they are making really good changes, it is so hard when you are stuck out there as you get so bored.

"It will help move people along quicker because when they are here, they aren't intimidated by the agencies. We have had two people move on in the past week because of it."

Weston Town Council, has pledged £25,000.

Cllr Peter Fox said: "It is great we are allocating this money but it is still disappointing people are sleeping rough."

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