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3rd Jul, 2022

Stratford's homeless community takes advantage of church respite

Catherine Thompson 27th Jun, 2019 Updated: 27th Jun, 2019

HOMELESS and vulnerable people in Stratford are taking advantage of the Link Project at its temporary church base.

The homeless drop in centre, which is being run at the United Reformed Church (URC) on Rother Street, was attended by nine service users during its first session earlier this month, and has since doubled to 18.

The Stratford District Council-run drop-in centre, formerly based in Waterside, was closed four months ago following an unspecified incident which prompted safety concerns.

The move, which follows a review, was agreed by the district council and partner agencies including town churches and charity P3.

But a permanent base is still needed for the support sessions which cannot be run at the church over the school holidays.

Housing and homelessness spokeswoman Coun Jo Barker said: “The reopening of the Link is a crucial service, it forms only one part of our toolkit to support those who sleep rough. These are vulnerable people and although the Link looks a little different, it is very much the same multi-agency service provision.

“The Link Project review has enabled the district council to look again at the demands and needs of this type of drop-in service and put suitable policies and procedures in place.

“By pooling resources and working with partners and volunteers we are able to ensure there is effective support in place for vulnerable people to enable them to have control over their lives, be safe and protected from harm.

“Unfortunately the facilities at the URC are only available to us until the end of July and we are currently looking at other options, before returning to the URC after the school holidays in September.”

The project runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 12.30pm until 2.30pm providing help, advice and support to rough sleepers and vulnerable people in need.

Drinks and food will also be available at the drop in sessions, along with access to support agencies.

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