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New facility for homeless people opens in Wolverhampton

By James Vukmirovic | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A new and unique multi-purpose facility for homeless people across Wolverhampton has officially opened its doors.

The new homeless hub on Waterloo Road, which is based opposite Molineux, is the culmination of six months of work by the Good Shepherd to renovate the building.

Staff and volunteers officially moved into the building on January 20 and have spent the last few weeks getting the final touches done.

The renovation work cost more than £300,000 from grant funding and donations from the public and has helped to create a fully functional support service over four floors.

The new facility will help to continue the services the Good Shepherd provided at its previous site at Darlington Street Methodist Church.

The kitchen and dining areas will work to distribute to around 120 people per day, while the in-house support team will expand its services to look at health, employability and multiple complex needs.

The dining area will see around 120 people access the food services each day

Head of Operations at the Good Shepherd Tom Hayden helped to lead the renovation efforts and spoke of how he felt about the opening of the new facility.

He said: "To be honest, it's kind of blown me away to have this place ready. When we first opened it up to our volunteers and staff for them to come round, the feedback from them was really positive.

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"This has been a really ambitious move for the charity and it's been difficult for the staff and volunteers as a lot of effort has gone into getting us to this stage.

Tom also spoke about the multi-agency work to get the new facility up and running.

He said: "We can't end homelessness on our own. It takes help from statutory partners, the police, the local authority, third sector partners, businesses and the general public to help us and now we've got the space to actually help people."

The centre has a large supply of dry and wet foods, which are a mixture of donations and food brought in

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A key feature of the new facility is a link-up with Enterprise Homes Group who will run their Church Shelter on the site, having previously operated at Westbury Baptist Church on Broad Street.

Up to 20 people will be able to access the overnight shelter, with Chief Executive of Enterprise Homes Matt Lambert stating that the link-up with Good Shepherd was vital to helping make Homelessness history in Wolverhampton.

He said: "It's this sense of if we want to make homelessness history in our city, we need to create an eco-system of services that actually works to each individual of wrap-around support.

"Having everything in one place actually means that people can start flourishing and we can really engage with them in a meaningful way."

"If I wanted to say something to encourage people to use this service, I would just say come down, get yourself registered if you are in need, from a rough sleeping point of view.

"It's about what you want, your outcomes, your desires, your dreams. Come down and allow us to make your dreams become a reality."

Housing support officer Tina Lane is part of the team helping service users from around the city

The new building contains a multi-agency space, clinic room for health interventions and an onsite training room and a wide range of agencies and health services have already signed up to provide services from the centre.

Leanne Hayes and Christopher Edwards have both benefitted from the services provided by the Good Shepherd.

Leanne became homeless in 2016, suffering from a cocaine addiction and issues with alcohol, before going to the Good Shepherd and access the services there to help her.

Since accessing the service, she has got found accommodation and gone back into full time education as an art student.

Leanne Hayes, who turned her life around after accessing the Good Shepherd services, poses in the night shelter, which will accommodate up to 20 people

She said: "At first, I was really embarrassed when I first came here, but I would tell people not to be embarrassed because they just treat you the same as everybody else.

"The main benefits of coming here to me are that they've given me a lot of my confidence back and a lot of support, so it's really been life-changing for me."

Christopher came to the Good Shepherd for help with his mental health issues, then started accessing the groups and services on offer.

He now volunteers at the facility, working in the kitchen, and spoke about how the service helped him.

Volunteers Cate Darmody and Christopher Edwards prepare food in the newly installed kitchen at the homeless hub

He said: "In terms of support, at first, as a service user, I got interacting with the groups and it went from there.

I feel I've made a lot of progression in that time as the work done here has helped my mental health.

"I've met some good people who've helped me with my accommodation, with appointments and getting in the right direction for the help that I need."

For more details about the new facility, go to gsmwolverhampton.org.uk or email tom@gsmwolverhampton.org

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at james.vukmirovic@expressandstar.co.uk.

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