The number of people seeking the help of a homeless charity in Northampton has risen by 25 per cent in the past four years.
Volunteers at the Hope Centre, a charity for the homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged, now deal with more than 110 people every day – in 2012 the number was 90.
The increase in demand means the centre, which is based in Campbell Street, is now, more than ever, in desperate need of funds – according to the charity’s chairman, Adrian Pryce, who works at the University of Northampton’s Faculty of Business and Law.
“We help more than 1,000 clients each year from Northampton alone,” said Mr Pryce. “The Hope Centre spends around £500 for each person we help, but it’s just not enough."
He added: “The charity is perhaps best known for its soup kitchen and helping rough sleepers, but it’s now become much more than that.
“Our services have developed so that we now help around 1,000 people in the town who suffer from severe and multiple disadvantages of various forms, which makes them homeless or puts them at the risk of becoming homeless.
“More often than not these problems arise from childhood trauma such as physical or sexual abuse which has set their lives on a destructive track. Others have fallen on hard times as adults after a marriage breakdown, loss of job or extreme stress – or they may have had problems with the criminal justice system.”
Mr Pryce was speaking at Thursday’s launch of the Hope Centre’s annual summer fundraiser – a 260-mile charity bike ride from the University’s Park Campus to Belgium, which is sponsored by Pidy Gourmet UK and Action Express.
This year, 30 cyclists are taking part in the ride, which will finish in Ypres on Sunday – they are aiming to smash last year’s cash total of £15,000 for the Hope Centre.
The University has close links with the Hope Centre, with Vice Chancellor, Nick Petford, becoming a patron of the charity in 2015.
To sponsor Mr Pryce, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Adrian-PryceR4H2016.