The founder of a successful charity which looks after homeless and vulnerable people is retiring.
Ruby Stuckey founded Grantham Passage in 2001 when local clergy told her there were many people asking them for help with a place to live, to overcome drug and alcohol problems or the breakdown of a relationship.
Ruby steps down as chairman of Grantham Poverty Concern, which incorporates Grantham Passage, at the end of this month.
She says she is very proud of Grantham Passage and what it has achieved over the years, but at the age of 76 it is time to take a step back from it to give some time to herself.
Ruby said: “I am confident it will continue to meet the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves and will carry on the ethos of the Passage. We do not give lightly, but we are there when no one else can help.”
One of the highlights of the past 15 years was when Ruby went to Buckingham Palace to pick up her MBE. While it was a proud moment, she insists the success of Passage is a result of teamwork.
She said: “I think there is a continual workload and we have all done our bit and helped each other out as volunteers, but that was a wonderful moment at Buckingham Palace.”
Ruby said the Grantham Passage was needed more than ever and many people were in difficulty because they said they had to wait for up to 12 weeks before they could receive benefits under the new Universal Credit system.
Ruby was brought up in Grantham and attended Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School. She went on to become a teacher and went to work in London before returning to the town.
Grantham Passage was first set up at the church in Finkin Street, where it can still be found helping the needy from the church hall.
The charity holds six sessions each week at churches in the town, giving shelter, hot food, clothing and assistance with access to agencies and community support.
More recently, the organisation grew with the successful completion of a £45,000 project to create an outreach centre at St Mary’s Church. There, a new kitchen provides substantial cooked breakfasts, while there are also showers and washing machines so that homeless clients can smarten up before interviews.
Ruby said: “At first I thought we would be at Finkin Street for evermore. But the fact that we can now provide hot food and a listening ear every day of the week is really marvellous.”
Now, Ruby plans to spend more time in her garden and take part in clubs and activities around the town.
The new chairman of Grantham Poverty Concern is Andy Maddison.
Friend and former Mayor of Grantham Ian Selby said: “Ruby is a treasure that Grantham, and especially the Passage, have been very fortunate to have her help for many years. Ruby is not just a kind-hearted person, she is also an inspiration and somebody who has the natural ability to always offer people a warm welcome. I would personally like to wish Ruby much happiness in retirement, and say a thank you to her for her kind friendship.
“It was also Ruby’s idea to commemorate Queen Eleanor and we recently erected a plaque on the Guildhall”.