Bringing pride back to a broken community

Mullion Place shelter fun Day''Resident Ivan Palmer with Difinity
Mullion Place shelter fun Day''Resident Ivan Palmer with Difinity

RESIDENTS of a homeless shelter in Fishermead are looking to give the area a much-needed boost in positive spirit.

Staff and residents at the Mullion Place based shelter, run by Orbit Housing Group, held a community event on Thursday with one resident performing with a band on the day.

The event was held to show people that Fishermead is an exciting, culturally diverse community that represents the values Milton Keynes stands for, and staff are hoping that more events like this will help.

They are also looking to promote the good work they do with homeless people while they are in their care.

Project worker Chris Mayers said: “We are here to offer support for the homeless and people stay for six months minimum and two years maximum.”

In that time people are offered opportunities to help them get jobs and get back on their feet.

They can take part in lessons on CV writing, interview skills and other important life skills they will need in job seeking.

People are also encouraged, with help from MK Council, to find their own housing so they can get back on their feet as soon as possible

Chris said: “A lot of people don’t know we’re here or the good work we do in the community.

“People can be on the streets for a number of reasons. They could have been in prison, gone through a divorce, had a problem with drugs or drink but we look after everyone here.

“A lot of people who maybe don’t know what we’re doing here will have a perception of homeless people or what it takes to get them here so we want to try and change people’s perceptions and show that, as is proved by the guys performing today, that they have a lot of talent.”

The community events are held every month at the centre and residents are openly encouraged to attend. Alongside that, organisations from across the city including Milton Keynes College, Milton Keynes Council and the Red Cross are also invited to show off the good work that they do.

Currently 20 people live in the shelter, and one of them, Ivan Palmer, performed on the day with band Difinity.

Manager of the shelter, Kath Chiles, said: “These events are about getting everyone together and celebrating diversity. Each month we look to promote those ideals and we treat it as a good chance for people to get together and get to know each other.

“We have another shelter in Cambridge Street in Bletchley and residents from there were also invited so they could join in the celebrations and take it all in.”

Each month the shelter promotes a new topic and invites as many of the residents as possible to get involved with it so they can shake of negative stereotypes associated with homelessness.