£60,000 gift saves help for the homeless in Harrogate

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Harrogate’s only homeless hostel has secured vital cash in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Harrogate Homeless Project had feared it would have to close the successful No Second Night Out scheme next year, when government funding runs out.

However, Harrogate Borough and North Yorkshire County councils have agreed to match-fund the project, putting up £30,000 each.

“Without this it would have set us back 20 years,” said manager Liz Hancock. “We would have had to go back to providing a meal for a day, a bed for a night.

“That model is outdated; we need to work with people to find them permanent homes and that is what No Second Night Out does. We provide sustainable solutions, not quick fixes.”

Fears that the scheme could end prompted an outpouring of support. Harrogate’s former MP, Lord Willis of Knaresborough, called the No Second Night Out project ‘inspiring’.

At a Christmas lunch for service users, funded by CNG, Liz said: “It has got the problem back on the agenda and in the forefront of people’s minds. We have had a great response from the public, and we hope to build on that with our fundraising.”

The project is now appealing for fundraisers and volunteers to help raise the remaining cash. Liz added: “£30,000 is a lot for us to raise throughout the year. We need some good ideas and fundraisers to come on board.”

No Second Night Out has helped 329 people since its launch in October 2012, with a 90 per cent success rate. Between April and September 2014 152 people were referred to the scheme.

No Second Night Out manager Andy Kirk said: “It is not a case that the project ran for a few years and solved the homeless problem. The number of referrals is going up all the time.”

The project relies on charity donations to top-up the cost of running the hostel and runs the Springboard day centre at the Wesley Chapel, entirely on donations.

Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) decided earlier this month to contribute funds to the vital project, with the County Council following suit last week.

HBC Leader Councillor Richard Cooper (Con, High Harrogate) said: “The Homeless Project is held out as a beacon of best practice in supporting those who are facing a night without shelter. Its positive work in getting people back into accommodation is not just a service to those people needing their help – it is a lifeline for people who would otherwise have nowhere to go.”

Coun Don Mackenzie (Con Saltergate), North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supporting People said: “Although budgets are tight, the County Council wants to target resources at most vulnerable people and we are pleased to have worked with HBC to jointly support this important scheme for Harrogate.”

Harrogate’s MP is also supporting the project . Andrew Jones said: “I have visited the hostel on a number of occasions. I know the great work they do, helping people often when they are experiencing terrible problems in their lives. Homelessness has a variety of causes; relationship breakdown, addiction, redundancy and others. Somewhere warm and safe to sleep and help in to permanent accommodation is the first step for someone in rebuilding their lives. It is a step the No Second Night Out scheme supports that person in taking.”