A CHARITY supporting homeless and vulnerable people will be able to help even more after tripling in size.
Helping Hands Community Project has moved into a two-storey building on Althorpe Street where it will base its offices and drop-in centre, providing food, support and necessities.
The charity’s original base on Gloucester Street will now operate solely as a shop.
And the new building means the charity’s property footprint has now tripled in size.
The expansion comes after a challenging period for the charity – which is ran by 60 volunteers – which was forced to turn its shop into a makeshift food store during lockdown, serving more than 18,000 meals across three months.
Helping Hands chief executive Lianne Kirkman said: “We were seeing a rise in demand anyway before the pandemic so we are expecting to see an even stronger spike in demand now because of the impact coronavirus has had on people’s lives – whether that is losing everything from redundancy or relationship breakdowns while in lockdown.
“We were simply running out of room and it wouldn’t have been long until we would have been at full capacity for some of our sessions, but the new premises means we can now accommodate 60 people at any one time for our drop-in sessions. We will also now have dedicated rooms for counselling and one-to-one support sessions.
“Prior to lockdown we had recently started a support session dedicated to vulnerable women where they can make friends and bond over activities such as cooking to crafts, but most importantly, for them to know that whatever problems they are facing, they are not alone. The take-up on the sessions was encouraging and the new space we now have will enable us to grow these sessions in the future.
“Our soup kitchen and sessions to help people prepare for the world of work are as popular as ever, but we are expecting demand for our ‘house 2 home’ re-homing project to double over the coming weeks.
“The expansion has been mainly funded by public donations, so I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to us over the years, along with Wright Hassall who played a key role in helping us to finalise the property deal, which will hopefully give us solid foundations to help even more people over the coming years.”