Thanet District Council is delighted to announce two new initiatives which will see food, shelter and support provided to homeless rough sleepers in Thanet.
The Winter Shelter Scheme and Aspire Homeless Project will launch in Thanet on 1 December 2016 and have been introduced in response to the growing levels of rough sleeping and homelessness in the district, a trend which is also reflected at a national level.
The aim is to provide immediate respite during the harsh winter months so that people have a warm and safe place to stay, but also to provide year-round support to ensure that homeless individuals are better equipped to secure and retain accommodation and to provide pathways for training and employment.
The council is providing £45,000 towards the schemes which are also being supported by the Homelessness Forum and Thanet’s churches.
The projects will run as a pilot for one year.
Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Lin Fairbrass, said: “This is a unique approach to tackling a very real problem in Thanet. Rough sleeping and homelessness is on the rise and we’re determined to tackle this head on. I’d like to thank all of the organisations involved in helping to get these projects off the ground and to the many volunteers who are already enrolled, without your support this wouldn’t be possible. We’re delighted to provide these projects with financial support and will be working alongside our partners to identify future funding steams should the projects prove to be successful at the end of the pilot.”
Winter Shelter Scheme
Headed up by Ian Buckland from the Salvation Army, the Winter Shelter Scheme will run for 13 weeks during the coldest months of the year.
From 1 December to 28 February, a number of church halls will open up as shelters across Thanet (Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate) to provide homeless rough sleepers with an evening meal, access to showers and bed and breakfast.
As well as providing practical support with access to food, clothing and healthcare, the shelter guests will also be given assistance over the 13 weeks, with the support of the Aspire Homeless Project, to identify opportunities for employment and training as well as help to move on to find appropriate, longer-term accommodation.
The Winter Shelter Scheme is currently looking for volunteers and donations to support the initiative.
Go to thanetwintershelter.org.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to get involved.
Ian Buckland, who has experience of developing similar shelter schemes in other parts of the country, said; “I’m thrilled to be heading up a project here in Thanet. Rough sleeping is on the rise and the shelters will mean we can provide people with a safe place to stay the night, rather than sleeping on the streets. Linking in with Aspire will be critical because this isn’t just about providing a short-term solution. By working together the aim is to help our homeless community to rehabilitate back into the community and to have the skills and support to prevent this from recurring in the future.”
Aspire Homeless Project
Aspire, led by Global Generation, is an outreach project which will work in tandem with the Winter Shelter scheme and will operate year-round. The project aims to provide individuals with pathways to move them from homelessness towards tenancy, training and employment and to provide the skills and support to rehabilitate people back into the community.
It will link in with existing partnerships in the area, including the DWP, Public Health, East Kent College, Pipeline and Thanet District Council to provide support with health and wellbeing, education, training and housing.
Mike Andrea from Global Generation, said: “Aspire is all about working with individuals to understand their story, identifying what the barriers are to functioning in a normal life pattern and working with them to re-establish their goals and aspirations. Aspire will help to create the pathways to support people towards making longer-term positive changes in their lives, whether that’s securing a place to live, enrolling in education, training or employment or making more informed choices about their future. I’m excited by what I think we can achieve by working together!”