When small changes can make big differences ...

New day shelter for homless at Llyods Crt CMK
New day shelter for homless at Llyods Crt CMK

HOW easy is it to get up and get a drink of water, go and grab something to eat or just rest your head for the evening?

And how much do you take everyday things for granted?

New day shelter for homless at Llyods Crt CMK

New day shelter for homless at Llyods Crt CMK

When you live on the streets those simple things are not easy, at times they’re not even possible.

That’s why a new city homeless centre could prove to be one of the greatest resources Milton Keynes has.

I had the privilege of visiting the new Centre for the Homeless in Lloyds Court, CMK, last week and talking to not only the people running the service, but those using it.

Dave Reeves, 60, and his son, 32, also Dave, have been living on the streets for a year. They became homeless after the death of Mr Reeves’ wife.

New day shelter for homless at Llyods Crt CMK

New day shelter for homless at Llyods Crt CMK

Dave, who was his wife’s full-time carer after she became ill with chronic obstructive airway disease, COAD, was left heartbroken after she died.

With no job or benefits coming in and after developing depression and insomnia he was forced to leave his bungalow in Bolbeck Park.

He said: “We had been married for 33 years and I was given an hour to collect as many memories as I could and then get out.

“My son has been a massive help to me. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”

The duo have been living in a two man tent in Waterhall Park, Bletchley, but struggled without access to essentials including water and food.

He said: “The important thing we have found here at this new shelter is the show of respect which can be hard to come by. Sometimes you think you are the only ones going through it but there are people worse off than us.”

His son added: “Some mornings it can be really hard to get up and then at night it is harder to go to sleep, it’s a vicious cycle. Sometimes you drink to sleep or just drink to forget. Having somewhere like here to come is great because it’s somewhere to go, break up the day and help get your head together.”

Mary Courtney is the project director of the Centre for the Homeless, coming from a background of helping those less fortunate than herself after running the city’s Winter Night Shelter.

She said: “The reason for opening a new shelter is when the homeless need our help most. When they first wake up they need a fix whether it is drugs or alcohol. That is when they struggle.”

“Our aim is to give people focus and help them get back on their feet.”

To do this the centre, which is open between 9am and 1.30pm and run by seven volunteers and three permanent staff, will run daily workshops teaching people life skills such as money management, communication and job training.

The centre, which can cater for up to 400 people a week, believes small changes make big differences and that their help will enable people like Dave to get their lives back on track.