New homeless centre to give respect and support

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A NEW homeless centre set to open tomorrow will aim to keep people off the streets when they most need their next ‘fix’.

The Centre for the Homeless, based in Lloyds Court, will open from 9am to 3pm – the time when drink and drug addicts told organisers they feel most vulnerable.

It will be capable of serving up to 400 homeless people and is the brainchild of Milton Keynes’ Winter Night Shelter, which gives the homeless a place a stay at night during the winter months.

Visitors will be given breakfast in the morning before taking part in a number of structured workshops for an hour each day.

They will be taught basic skills that many homeless and vulnerable people currently lack, including shopping and food budgets, communication skills as well as building their general confidence.

Project director, Mary Courtney, said: “When we ran the night shelter we helped to build a profile of each of the guests we had. A lot of them told us that between the time they woke up and they time they saw us they were looking for a fix, whether that was drink or drugs.

“The people we will be working with will sign a document saying they can’t attend if they are under the influence of those things. We want to find out what purpose they will get from the centre and work with them and support them for the times they come here.

“This is not just a drop-in centre it is about making a positive change to someone’s life. They already have our respect now they can have our support.”

The centre has benefited from a £11,500 grant from the Community Foundation, as well as support from John Lewis, the Re-Use Centre and Costco.

Mrs Courtney said: “We want to work together with various groups to make sure we can offer the best service to the homeless around the city.”

> Anyone interested in volunteering to work at the centre can call Mrs Courtney on 07516249637.