Sheffield £1.8m plan to help homeless

Big dream: St Wilfrid's director Kevin Bradley with Simrin Choudrie.
Big dream: St Wilfrid's director Kevin Bradley with Simrin Choudrie.

A DREAM to build a residential centre for Sheffield’s homeless and vulnerable looks set to become a reality.

St Wilfrid’s Centre held an official launch for an appeal to raise £1.8million to build the ‘one of a kind’ facility which will provide a roof over the heads of 50 people.

And the charity, which operates a day service for the city’s socially excluded adults, is well on its way with £500,000 in the kitty.

Plans for the residential unit on land next to the existing Queens Road centre have already been given the go-ahead by Sheffield Council.

Supporters are keen to raise the remaining cash as soon as possible as cuts to disability benefits and the ‘bedroom tax’ look set to increase homelessness.

St Wilfrid’s director Kevin Bradley said: “Moving into a new home for many people can be a traumatic experience and just to give people a council flat does not always work.

“They move from town to town, which perpetuates the problem of homelessness.

“It is a unique idea because people would come to live with us for two years. They would not just be living there but doing something for their benefits. Everyone who comes to us signs a contract to attend classes from Monday to Friday on different things such as how to cook and look after your money.

“After two years we help them settle into a flat.”

The launch event unveiled the detailed plans in front of supporters including Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield and Lord Lieutenant for South Yorkshire David Moody.

Patron Simrin Choudrie, an interior designer who visited the centre as part of Channel 4 programme The Secret Millionaire, delivered a speech to the gathered guests.

It is hoped the new unit will be built within 18 months.