SWT recieves £167,000 funding to help rough sleepers

ACCOMODATION for rough sleepers is set to continue throughout the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to £167,000 of funding.

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) has received £167,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help the homeless.

Rough sleepers, who find it difficult to self-isolate and practice social distancing, have been using accommodation at Canonsgrove Halls of Residence in Trull.

The site is owned by Bridgwater and Taunton College, but being managed by The YMCA Dulverton Group.

Jonica Walkinshaw of YMCA Dulverton Group, said: “YMCA Dulverton Group are pleased that the funding awarded will enable the vital work at Canonsgrove to be able to continue into the next year.

“Through working very closely with partners and with the direct delivery of many supportive services, this has made fundamental positive change to the individuals we work alongside.

“As we head into the winter months, our focus is still firmly on keeping people safe and enabling individuals to move on into safe and sustainable independent accommodation.

“We believe that everyone should have an opportunity to feel that they belong, be able to contribute and in turn they will thrive, Canonsgrove allows the foundation for this to begin.”

The money will be used to fund officers who provide support to tenants moving on from temporary accommodation.

It will also provide financial assistance to enable private landlords to accommodate lower risk clients.

Leader of SWT, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, said: “Canonsgrove has shown great multi-partnership working led by SWT with huge support from the YMCA Dulverton Group.

“A whole range of organisations have been working with us giving their time and support to make this possible including Raft, the Salvation Army, Open Door, Turning Point, Arc and many statutory bodies.

“This project is unique nationally and we have been encouraged by its success.

“Not only have we been able to provide three meals a day and support services tailored to the needs of our vulnerable tenants but we have been able to help many gain new independence in their own accommodation.

“We welcome this financial support from central Government to build on our work to date and the opportunity it gives to engage with the community of Trull as we move forward.”

Somerset County Gazette | News