Andy Burnham visits our nightshelter | Depaulcharity

Andy Burnham visits our nightshelter | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Andy Burnham visits our nightshelter

March 20th, 2019

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham today (Wednesday, 20 March 2019) visited staff and clients at a Depaul UK nightshelter for rough sleepers in Oldham.

Mr Burnham spent an hour at the shelter, part of the homeless provision put in place by the Mayor’s “A Bed Every Night” (ABEN) initiative, and spoke with the homeless men who use it.

He said: “Over 1,900 homeless people from across Greater Manchester have benefited from the A Bed Every Night scheme so far. That success is down to the support of organisations from across the city-region all doing their bit to tackle the issue.   

“Depaul has shown how A Bed Every Night can succeed on a local level, working with partners to offer accommodation, hot food and shower facilities every night to help rough sleepers get back on their feet. They’re improving the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society on a daily basis and they can’t be commended enough for that.”

It is run by national homelessness charity Depaul UK, and offers a bed for the night to people who would otherwise be sleeping rough.

Depaul UK CEO Mike Thiedke said: “Our most immediate concern was keeping people safe as the temperature dropped, and sleeping rough became extremely dangerous.

“But I am proud of the way we have also helped people in the long term. The team signposts guests to other services which can help, like healthcare services, and have managed to help lots of guests find a more stable living arrangement.

“Depaul UK couldn’t have done this without support of the Mayor. We hope to work with him and his team to help more people at risk of sleeping rough into a safe, stable home.”

Manager Yvonne O’Mara said: “Our project is unusual in that we allow guests to leave their belongings here during the day. Having to move around with all your possessions can be really stressful, so we try to minimise that.

“We’ve tried our best to make it friendly and homely. We play dominoes or cards in the evening, or sometimes watch a DVD. And we make sure that everyone is treated with kindness and respect.”

Since Oldham Nightshelter opened last November, men seeking refuge have been able to access a bed, shower facilities, hot food and breakfast between 9pm and 9am each night.

More than 90 people have used the shelter with some staying for up to three weeks at a time and a number have since been found permanent accommodation.

Since opening its doors, the shelter has found a great deal of support in the community. Oldham restaurant Sagor delivers food for guests four nights a week, while students at Oldham Sixth Form College raised money to buy Christmas gifts for the men staying at the shelter.

Yvonne added: “We’re so grateful for all the support we’ve received, and want to thank the community for going the extra mile to help keep our guests safe and comfortable.”

The shelter is based at the rear of Oldham Community Fire Station on Lees Road, and will remain open until the end of April.

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