Jeremy Corbyn blasts Northampton Hope Centre eviction as 'appalling'

Jeremy Corbyn during his visit to the Hope Centre in 2017.
Jeremy Corbyn during his visit to the Hope Centre in 2017.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has described the decision to evict the Hope Centre from its Northampton base as 'appalling and senseless'.

Last month it emerged that Midland Heart wanted to move the homelessness charity out of Oasis House in Campbell Street, in order to free up more space for temporary accommodation at the site and to change the nature of the services offered there.

But the eviction notice, which will see the Hope Centre moved in a year's time, prompted a backlash from its supporters.

Currently, a petition to keep the charity where it is has more than 7,700 names.

Today, the campaign attracted the attention of the national Labour party leader, who visited the day centre in 2017.

In a statement, Mr Corbyn said: “This is appalling and senseless news.

"I was enormously touched by those who work at the Hope Centre.

"I’ll always remember meeting an artist who’d lost the use of his painting arm but was encouraged by Hope Centre staff to learn to draw with his other one. He then painted remarkable portraits of the staff and fellow residents.

“It is literally a centre that provides hope to the homeless and dispossessed.”

The Hope Centre provides a day centre and soup kitchen for the homeless as well as providing training, housing support and workshops. It recently launched a social supermarket selling affordable food to homes on the breadline.

Labour's parliamentary candidate for Northampton North, Sally Keeble, said Mr Corbyn was impressed with its work during his September 2017 visit.

"He really valued it," she said. "He likes the work that they do and the way they engage and support homeless people."

Previously David Taylor, executive director of operations for Midland Heart, has said: "As levels of homelessness continue to rise we have worked with a range of partner organisations to look at ways to not only greatly increase the quality of accommodation available at Oasis House but to offer more support to help people move on with their lives, find employment and secure a permanent home. These services in many cases are what turn people’s lives around and as such we want to ensure that we give residents of Oasis House as much access as possible to this support network.

“To increase the life-changing support available to people living in Oasis House we are making changes. Unfortunately, this includes asking Hope Centre to find new premises over the course of the next year. We have advised the Hope Centre of this change at the earliest possible opportunity and will ensure that their staff continue to have access to Oasis House in the future to deliver their important work.”