Hatfield night shelter receives council funding pledge

PUBLISHED: 14:39 09 August 2018

Joe Heeney, CEO of Resolve. Picture: CPG Photography

Joe Heeney, CEO of Resolve. Picture: CPG Photography

CPG Photography

Proposals for a year-round night shelter in Hatfield are poised for another boost as the borough council steps in with promises of support.

Resolve sign. Picture: Peter Sterling PhotographyResolve sign. Picture: Peter Sterling Photography

At a borough council cabinet meeting on Tuesday, August 7, councillors agreed on how to help set up a night shelter for rough sleepers.

If planning applications go through, the council will cover 30 per cent of the costs of converting part of Queensway House in Hatfield.

Drugs and alcohol charity Resolve has leased a ground floor unit there, and has also gained private support for some of the costs.

The council funding would come from the proceeds of Right to Buy transactions.

The full council report, which is currently confidential, also explains how the council will work with Resolve in their bid to provide a range of advice and support services for rough sleepers with more complex needs.

Council leader Mandy Perkins said: “Our aim is to help people find a permanent home and support them to deal with any underlying problems that may be contributing to their rough sleeping.

“The night shelter will provide a safe, warm and welcoming environment to enable the council and Resolve to work more closely with them to ensure they get the help they need to get them back on their feet.”

The borough council pledge of support comes hot on the heels of confirmation of community partnership funding at the county council level.

On August 3, all eight county councillors from all three political parties represented agreed to commit £9,450 towards the shelter.

In addition to the night shelter, Resolve are planning to open a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ community cafe in memory of late mayor Lynne Sparks, which will help fund the shelter.

Joe Heeney, CEO of Resolve, said he thinks the council has seen the need to invest in services that support the most vulnerable alongside the more forunate. “All people in the borough will be able to access this in some way - from coming in and having a cup of tea in the cafe through to helping people with more complex needs.”

Resolve has received support from companies like Ocado, the Wheat Quarter, and Tesco, but emphasises that he wants it to be a full community project that people can support “just by coming in and getting a sandwich.”

A planning application was received by the council on July 7 and has had 11 comments in support already.

It requests a change of use, internal alterations to convert the place for temporary accommodation, as well as changes to the external shopfront.

One commenter said: “[...] it is a much needed resource in the area for those who are on the fringes of society.

“It will enable them to receive emotional support as well as information as to housing, their rights to benefits etc, and give them hope towards getting better.”

“We hope that people will understand that there was a shelter at St Luke’s Church, and there were no problems attached to that,” said Joe. “The shelter will be taking people off the streets and that’s got to be good for everyone.”

You can view and comment on the planning application here: http://planning.welhat.gov.uk/plandisp.aspx?recno=88633

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