Southend: Homeless Centre Finally Opens Its Doors

Ten years and two million pounds later - HARP's new Bradbury Centre has officially been unveiled.

Its a newly renovated combined facilities building on York Road that will provide essential services to the homeless of Southend.

Operating from this centre will enable HARP to provide the essential services needed by the homeless of Southend all from under one roof.

In the past the Day Centre services and Emergency Night Shelter have been in two different locations.

Moving into one building means people no longer have to travel across town in all weathers to get the help they need. It also brings efficiency in both services provided to the homeless and in running costs.

The vision, planning and renovations themselves have been years in the making.

The Bradbury Centre, with its 18 emergency bedrooms, essential services provision - hot meals, advice and guidance from professional, caring staff, and access to health related services - and training facilities, has been the goal of the Chief Executive, Gill Garwood, since she took office in 2004.

HARP's vision is to end rough sleeping in Southend by 2018.

To be able to provide supportive services from the Bradbury Centre is a huge step towards achieving this.

The Bradbury Centre will provide more emergency rooms than HARP previously had and improved training facilities that will enable people to rebuild their lives.

Facilities at the Bradbury Centre will introduce 24-hour service provision for those accessing the emergency accommodation.

This new 24/7 approach has been directed by national charity, Homeless Link, who have found that this intense way of working has achieved great results with the homeless and puts people in a better position to move on much quicker.

The need for homeless services in Southend is great.

In the past 12 months HARP have assisted over 1500 people in turning their lives around in order to find secure housing.

The improved facilities at The Bradbury Centre will enable HARP to help more people.

The services HARP's professional staff provides are:

" A caring environment and 28,000 hot meals.

" Emergency Accommodation if needed. (This is the only emergency accommodation available in Southend).

" Advice on all issues of homelessness which can include: homeless prevention, housing, financial and medical issues.

" Training, volunteering and skills enhancing courses that help people move into a home of their own.

"The new centre will provide a safety net for the young and vulnerable in our town who find themselves homeless and without a future. The Centre will provide a supportive and caring environment to enable them to learn the skills they need to support themselves." Chief Executive, Gill Garwoood.

It can take courage to ask for help and HARP pride themselves on their caring and approachable manner. They see people in desperate need. Many are hungry, alone and vulnerable.

Without HARP, many local people would be left on the streets with on one to turn to.

The Bradbury Centre will be accepting food donations from 10th March.  The Valkyrie Road site is no longer open.

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