Agreement made between Hope Centre and landlords in Northampton after eviction notice served

The Hope Centre has this week signed a license agreement with social housing operator Midland Heart to continue occupying parts Oasis House in Northampton.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 11:42 am
The Hope Centre has been based in Oasis House, Campbell Street, for eight years. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

The 'long-term agreement' comes as Midland Heart has submitted a planning application to the Guildhall to convert some of the 'vacant and lesser-used rooms' at Oasis House into self-contained eight one-bedroom apartments and two one-person bedsits.

Rebekah Newton director of supported living at Midland Heart said: “We are delighted to be moving forward in partnership with the Hope Centre to provide even more support to local homeless people at Oasis House.

"Our new long-term agreement will create an extra ten apartments to help get more people off the street while ensuring the Hope Centre still provide their services from Oasis House.

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The charity has said it estimates it will need about 1.2 million to facilitate moving buildings.

"We are glad to be working so closely with the Hope Centre to make these improvements for the people in our community who need them most.”

Landlords for Oasis House, Midland Heart, issued the Hope Centre with an eviction notice in October 2018 to leave its premises in Campbell Street.

The Hope Centre moved into the building in 2012 and supports 120 homeless people every day, providing them with hot meals, showers, clothes and delivers educational classes and training - costing £35,000 a month to run.

After they were given a year’s notice to leave in 2018, it sparked a 14,000-strong petition from former MP and Hope Centre patron Sally Keeble calling on Midland Heart to ‘rescind the eviction notice and honour the commitment to provide a permanent home for the Hope Centre at Oasis House’.

Hope CEO Robin Burgess said the Hope Centre has come to an agreement with Midland Heart and has signed a licence agreement, which allows for their continued occupancy of parts of the building.

He said: "This licence means we lose access to a significant area and have a different entrance, at a time when demand on the service is greater than it has ever been.

"While this enables us to secure our continuing occupancy there for the medium term the reduced and restricted space we will occupy has implications for Hope’s work in the longer term.

"We accept that we will need to find and then move to a building that meets our needs and has sufficient space to accommodate the expanded service we now run.

"We plan to launch a significant capital appeal this year to raise funds for a future move but recognise that this will take a long time to raise adequate funds and to identify a suitable building.

"Hope remains very much open to offers of land or property of at least 6,000 sq ft plus an area for garden and parking, in the town centre or very nearby that we could develop as our future home."

Oasis House opened in 2012, providing 48 beds available for the single homeless population, 39 self-contained apartments and a range of homeless support services under one roof.

The charity is set to launch a £1.2 million fundraising campaign - through a mixture of grants, donations and loans - to help them facilitate moving to a new premises in the future.

A formal fundraising appeal will be launched by the Hope Centre soon but readers are welcome to start donating now, by clicking here.