Community centre used to house homeless in Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 11:54 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:54 24 April 2020

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve.

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve.

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A Hatfield community centre has found a second purpose as a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve. The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve.

To get the Jim Mcdonald Centre up and running and fit for habitation, Resolve worked tirelessly with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to transform it into somewhere for people to live.

CEO of Resolve Joe Heeney said: “To say it is an amazing thing [our five staff] are doing is one of the greatest understatements of all time.

“All of the staff team volunteered to live-in what we are calling ‘Resolve’s Isolation Shelter’ for the duration of the lockdown so as to ensure the safety and welfare of our shelter guests, to keep our guests and themselves isolated over this period and so keep them all safe. But also of course this means that these people are now not left on the streets – a potential health hazard to themselves or others.”

Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor Nick Pace, executive member for housing and communities, said: “Finding a safe environment for people who are amongst the most vulnerable to the virus was a top priority for us in the early stages, and it is great that we could put the Jim McDonald Centre to good use when it would otherwise be closed.

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve. The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve.

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“We’re really pleased to see our residents so happy and comfortable there – from snooker to puzzles and tending to the garden – they’ve created a real sense of community spirit.

“We have no doubt this support is giving residents an experience that will help them prepare for life off the streets when lockdown is lifted, and it is wonderful to see something so positive come out of the crisis.”

Resolve is also providing remote support to its drug and alcohol day service clients and continuing their street outreach programme for the homeless during this uncertain time.

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve. The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve.

Joe also gave a “big shout out” to food delivery service OCADO, who have donated fresh food and some goodies, along with WHBC, the team at the Jim MacDonald Centre, councillors, council staff, HFRS Fire Safety Team, and the Jim MacDonald Centre itself for letting them use the centre.

Resolve’s community cafe, which it uses to raise funds for its service remains shut, so if you can donate anything during this time please go here localgiving.org/charity/resolve.

You can report rough sleepers here: streetlink.org.uk.


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