A long-standing campaign to build a residential centre for Sheffield’s homeless is a step closer to reality.
Charity St Wilfrid’s have reached the £1m mark in their mission to build a shelter next to its existing day unit, which offers a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in the city.
The appeal was launched after the centre featured on Channel 4 documentary series The Secret Millionaire. Wealthy businesswoman Simrin Choudrie has supported the charity since it came to her rescue when she posed as an impoverished mother-to-be for the programme three years ago.
Land to build the residential centre has been donated and Sheffield Council has granted the project outline planning permission. St Wilfrid’s must now raise a further £800,000 to begin work.
Director Kevin Bradley said: “At the time people (of the appeal launch) were a little bit sceptical and at first gave me strange looks when I said we had to raise £1.8m. The financial climate was the worst it could be.
Mr Bradley was invited to the House of Commons earlier this year to outline the plan for the centre, which promises to provide a roof over people’s heads for up to two years on the basis that residents will undertake education courses.
“They will be given further support when the time comes to move out.”
Mr Bradley added: “At the moment there is not enough support available to help people sustain their tenancy. They often move into an empty flat with no furniture and no money and many suffer from mental health problems. After a couple of weeks they start to panic.
“This perpetuates the problem of homelessness. If we can help people in this way, the problem could be drastically reduced.”