Grantham Passage has succeeded in its aim to create an outreach centre for the homeless, having reached its £45,000 fund-raising target.
The news was announced this week by Grantham Passage volunteer and project co-ordinator Mike Monaghan, who is delighted that the day centre behind St Mary’s Church is now nearing completion.
Grantham Passage, which already provides daily hot meals to the homeless and vulnerable at churches around the town, wanted to build on its provision by creating a dedicated drop-in centre.
It will have a new kitchen to provide substantial cooked breakfasts, while there will also be showers and washing machines so that homeless clients can smarten up before interviews.
Recognising how many applications and benefit forms can now only be completed online, the centre will also have computers available, and a secure place to store belongings.
Its volunteers will also be on hand to provide advice, including on CV preparation.
Mike said: “As we say, it will be a centre that will give a hand up not a hand out. It is to help people achieve a better way of life.”
He admits that he wasn’t always sure that the project would come to fruition, but is relieved that it has after all the hard work.
He added: “I want to say a big thank you to all the donors. We have had so many, both large and small, and I want to thank every single one.”
The Journal has followed the project’s progress as donations came in from a variety of individuals and groups, including the Bishop of Lincoln’s fund, South Kesteven District Council, Sainsbury’s, who chose the Passage as their charity of the year, Asda, Morrisons, freemasons and many, many more.
Teenagers taking part in their National Citizen Service also helped by clearing the building, formerly used as a scout hut and for general storage, and to raise money for the centre through a jumble sale and bag-packing.
Meanwhile, students from Harlaxton Manor have been giving continued support to Grantham Passage.
Chairman of the charity, and its umbrella organisation Grantham Poverty Concern, Ruby Stuckey said: “We want to say thank you to the people of Grantham and the many firms and the churches in Grantham, and to those in the outlying villages, who have all helped and donated to this project.
“And the schools have been great, as have the local supermakets, in helping us to prepare this centre, which should meet many of the needs of homeless people in the area.”
Ruby is also pleased with how the project has helped to remove the stigma sometimes associated with homelessness, and proved that the community is willing to help.
She said: “I think that through this project, and through the attention it has had in the press, people are starting to realise that the loss of employment and of your home is something that can happen to anyone at anytime.”
The centre will be officially opened by the Mayor of Grantham, Councillor Jacky Smith, on Monday, March 14.