Today saw the official opening of Grantham Passage’s new drop-in centre, after the community united to raise £45,000.
The centre was packed with donors, supporters and volunteers as Ruby Stuckey MBE, chair of Grantham Passage’s umbrella organisation, Grantham Poverty Concern, outlined the aims of the centre, before an official ribbon cutting by Mayor of Grantham, Jacky Smith.
“We’re hoping this will raise the self-esteem of our clients, using this building and continuing to use the other centres that we have, where we give food, a listening ear, and a signpost for help. Now we can signpost them to come here as well, and we just hope that they will, through us, get back on that ladder to society.”
Deciding to build upon their provision of daily hot meals in churches around Grantham, the charity started fund-raising two years ago for this project.
It has seen them transform a former storage building behind St Mary’s Church in Grantham into a dedicated outreach centre, complete with a new kitchen for them to provide hot meals. There are also washing facilities, access to computers for job and benefit applications, and secure storage, all available to those in need.
Treasurer of Grantham Poverty Concern, David Lynn, explained that the building is being leased to the charity by St Mary’s Church at a ‘peppercorn rent’, and that they would continue to fund-raise to pay for this as well as to ensure the upkeep of the building.
Mrs Stuckey said: “It’s been transformed from an old garage, then a furniture recycling building, a scout hut, a judo club and then just a dumping place. But it’s no dumping place here, because we hope that good things will come from it.”
Working tirelessly to ensure the project came to fruition, was Grantham Passage volunteer and project co-ordinator Mike Monaghan. “We’re very pleased,” he said. “It’s not so much the building, it’s what it is going to do for people. People will be coming for breakfast on a Wednesday and a Saturday, and then we’ll open on one or two afternoons so that people can have a shower and wash their clothes if they are going for interviews for jobs, because they need to look smart. And we’ll provide clothing if they need any.”
Donations have come from various individuals and groups, including the Bishop of Lincoln’s fund, South Kesteven District Council, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, freemasons, to name just a few. Many donors were at the opening today, while volunteers were also on hand and have held fund-raising events themselves.
Throughout this project the charity’s slogan that they are there to give ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ has been at the core, and this was repeated today.
Mayor of Grantham, Jacky Smith, added: “There are still a lot of vulnerable people who don’t come forward for a variety of reasons. Hopefully they will now, with the centre here.”