Resolve night shelter officially opens in Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 17:36 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2019

The cafe contains Resolve's Hatfield night Shelter. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

The cafe contains Resolve's Hatfield night Shelter. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

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Resolve's night shelter for rough sleepers was officially opened at the weekend in Hatfield town centre.

The cafe was dedicated to former WHBC Mayor Lynne Sparks. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.The cafe was dedicated to former WHBC Mayor Lynne Sparks. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

The shelter - which has a pay-what-you-want cafe dedicated to the late Welwyn Hatfield mayor Lynne Sparks - opened on Saturday underneath the Queensway House tower block.

The former mayor's son Tom told the Welwyn Hatfield Times Lynne was very passionate about the drugs and alcohol charity Resolve, helping to set up a temporary night shelter and raising money for the charity.

"My mum's dad died of alcoholism," he said, explaining why it was a cause close to her heart.

WHBC has given the charity a 10-year lease for the night shelter and supported it with various other costs.

Left to right: Ian Sparks, Joe Heeney, Mayor Roger Trigg, High Sherriff of Hertfordshire Sarah Beazley. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Left to right: Ian Sparks, Joe Heeney, Mayor Roger Trigg, High Sherriff of Hertfordshire Sarah Beazley. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

At the opening, Resolve CEO Joe Heeney told the WHT: "Today is the culmination of a year or so's work. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am with the support we have had from so many people.

"Not just individuals and organisations, but across all spectrums, all walks of life, funding areas, local councils, town councillors, ordinary people."

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Mr Heeney hopes the shelter will provide the support vulnerable people need. He said: "We worked with a lady, who was four years without a home, that was sofa surfing. Nobody knew."

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) grants manager Georgina Bawden, Joe Heeney, Claire Austin, Herts High Sherriff Sarah Beazley, CEO HCF Helen Gray.  Picture: Supplied.Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) grants manager Georgina Bawden, Joe Heeney, Claire Austin, Herts High Sherriff Sarah Beazley, CEO HCF Helen Gray. Picture: Supplied.

During 2017, Resolve was able to help around 75 per cent of homeless people move into stable accommodation, and last year around six people who were sleeping rough were helped back into work.

"Very often people who are sleeping rough haven't been [at work] for a long time," he explained.

Some 80 per cent of Resolve's staff are former addicts that also help people with recovery.

"We have empathy with people, its not the same as sympathy, we know the work can be done," Mr Heeney said.

The new sparks community cafe was enjoyed by young and old. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.The new sparks community cafe was enjoyed by young and old. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Rooms in the shelter were also dedicated to the late Tommy Cochrane - who died aged 29 after a long struggle with drug addiction - and the day was attended by his parents Colin and Hazel Cochrane.

The shelter and cafe are not yet complete as some work still needs doing, but the aim is to open it by the end of the month.

Resolve has received support from Ocado, Hertfordshire county councillors, Mears, ARISE, Wellfield Trust, Recover and FReSch, the Wheat Quarter, Tesco, Austin's Funeral Directors, Hertfordshire Community Foundation and WHBC to open and run the cafe and night shelter.

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