Northampton hope centre extends opening hours for rest of winter - but they need your help

Rough sleepers will have somewhere they can take shelter in the afternoons this winter.
Rough sleepers will have somewhere they can take shelter in the afternoons this winter.

A Northampton homelessness charity will keep its doors open for nearly the entire day for the rest of winter this year.

Northampton Hope Centre has announced it will be able to give the town's rough sleepers a place to go as late as 8pm throughout the week until March 15 this year.

The Hope Centre has been donated 25,000 by the Kerr House Trust, chaired by Sally Beardsworth.

The Hope Centre has been donated 25,000 by the Kerr House Trust, chaired by Sally Beardsworth.

The extra hours have been funded by a £25,000 grant from the Northampton-based Kerr House Trust.

But now, with more hours that ever to operate, the centre is asking for more volunteers to offer their time in the afternoons to keep service users company.

The funding was donated by chair of the Kerr House Trust and leader of Northampton's Lib Dem party, councillor Sally Beardsworth.

She told the Chronicle & Echo: "We've accrued this money over three years and rather than it sitting in the bank we hoped to use it to help keep people off the streets.

The grant means the Hope Centre can extend its opening hours - but now it needs more volunteers.

The grant means the Hope Centre can extend its opening hours - but now it needs more volunteers.

"We all can take for granted how much it means to have somewhere to stay warm and watch a bit of TV with a cup of tea, which is something that isn't on offer for homeless people.

"We hope this grant proves, with funding, that we can help people keep off the streets. It can be done.

"But now the Hope Centre needs volunteers - people who can commit half a day for these afternoons to go and sit with them, have a chat and keep them company."

The Hope Centre will now open from 9.30am until 8pm, and will also be able to open on Sundays.

Theoretically, it means service users will be able to head from the Hope Centre straight to the borough council's night shelter in St Andrew's Road

The Hope Centre also says it will encourage its service users to visit the various on-the-street homelessness support charities who serve hot meals in Northampton's high street so as not to compete with them.

CEO Robin Burgess said: "In theory, the money is enough to allow us to extend our opening hours all the way to March 15.

"It means we can offer rough sleepers a safe place with access to food, shelter and company that will help them stay off the town centre's streets."

Anyone interested in volunteering with the Hope Centre can contact them on 01604 214300 or email office@northamptonhopecentre.org.uk.