A new development supporting the homeless in Welwyn Garden City has been given a special blessing.

The new site is replacing the former YMCA hostel in Peartree Lane, which was demolished to make way for the brand new facility, comprising of 100 self-contained studios to support people who are struggling in their lives.

Father Norbert Fernandes, the Chair of Churches in Welwyn Garden City, conducted a land blessing ceremony at the site earlier this week, praying for God’s love to be "known and shown" in the completed building.

The ceremony included readings from Scripture, followed by singing and Father Fernandes blessing the site with holy water.

"The ceremony is about recognition and thankfulness for all that has happened on this site and blessing it for the future," said Matt Penny, lead chaplain at One YMCA.

The development is replacing the former YMCA hostel in Peartree Lane.The development is replacing the former YMCA hostel in Peartree Lane. (Image: YMCA)

"We felt this was important given its history – it’s been a maternity hospital, then our hostel, and so many things, so much life, has happened there.

"As a Christian organisation, it felt right to ask for Jesus’s help and presence to be with us as we serve our community.

"The site sits in Father Fernandes’s parish so it was very appropriate that he led us, and that we were joined by friends from our most local church partners. It was very special to have them come and pray with us and bless the future work that will happen here."

Steve Culbert, director at Kori Construction, described the ceremony as "moving", adding: "I’ve never attended a land blessing before, but given the site’s history and its future use, I thought the ceremony was very appropriate and a lovely way to mark the work.

"With the site progressing well, One YMCA will soon be able to continue their vital work in Welwyn Garden City supporting people facing or experiencing homelessness."

Speaking at the event, Guy Foxell, CEO of One YMCA, continued: "We’re truly thankful for the prayerful and practical support of our church partners.

"The land blessing today is a sign of their care for people experiencing homelessness in their community and for the work we do together."