I have known and am proud to know Wayne Miles over half my life and he celebrates his Norfolk homeless accommodation reaching its 16th birthday

Pippa Lain-Smith, Wayne Miles (centre), Sharon Reynolds and Jade Brophy celebrate the 16th birthday at Winston Court

Pippa Lain-Smith, Wayne Miles (centre), Sharon Reynolds and Jade Brophy celebrate the 16th birthday at Winston Court

A supported accommodation centre for homeless young people in Norfolk has celebrated its 16th birthday. This month, Winston Court in North Walsham, is celebrating 16 years of providing homeless young people from across the county, and beyond, with a safe place to live and help in planning independent, fulfilled futures. The supported accommodation centre, one of the first services set up by Norfolk charity The Benjamin Foundation, aims to provide hope, opportunity, stability and independence for vulnerable 16 to 25 year olds. Wayne Miles, manager at Winston Court, said: “I’ve worked at Winston Court since it opened in 1997, and to date we have helped over 300 young people get their lives back on track. “We now accommodate 15 young people at a time, twice our initial capacity, within nine single accommodation rooms and six semi-independent ‘move on’ flats. “The centre is a warm and welcoming place, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round, by a dedicated team of support workers who help residents to address any particular issues they may have.

“We are really proud that all of our residents are currently studying, training or in employment; a testament to the nurturing environment we strive to achieve and maintain.” He said some of his personal highlights in the last 16 years included working with young people who were at a transitional stage in their lives. He added: “Over the years I am proud to have been chosen as Godparent to five young children of former residents, plus staff and I have attended a couple of weddings of former residents. “One former resident is now a senior support worker himself and another was on national television recently commenting on current affairs. Every day is different and every resident is a unique individual.” For more information about Winston Court and other services provided by The Benjamin Foundation, call 01692 500999 or visit http://www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk

Homelessness – This is new track from Dodgy and ‘Christmas at the Foodbank’ starring our good friend Eddie Webber (The Business, The Firm)

This is from our good friend Kris Thompson.
The song titled ‘Christmas at the Food Bank’ is available to download now on iTunes, with all proceeds going to the Trussell Trust who provides food to people going hungry this Christmas. Please share this.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/christmas-at-foodbank-single/id770937588

Alarmingly, The Trussell Trust predict that this Christmas 60,000 people in the UK will need to use a food bank.

3 times more than last Christmas.
1 in 3 UK children will be living in poverty.
1 in 5 UK mums will skip meals to feed their children.

It would be amazing if we could get this issue some much needed exposure. Please do share the video on facebook and twitter and ask your friends to do so as well. It’s all for a great cause.

Thanks

Johnny Lynch

Homelessness news – Council ‘to use all available bylaws’ to ban Croydon soup kitchen

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I was out with the homeless last week in Croydon and Bromley and I found out that council leaders want to use “all available bylaws” to ban a soup kitchen for the poor and homeless.

The kitchen, run by volunteers and set up by charity Nightwatch, provides food and drink for sometimes up to 50 people an evening in Queen’s Gardens. But a secret council report says the soup kitchen is causing antisocial behavior in the town center and affecting nearby businesses.

The charity received the council’s Voluntary Organisation of the Year Award last year.

Efforts to prevent it from using Queen’s Gardens, which it has done for more than 30 years, are detailed in a yet to be published report entitled Town Centre – Food Provision. The document was discussed at a meeting of senior councillors and council officers. It said the soup kitchen ban is part of a wider effort to tackle antisocial behaviour in the town centre specifically aimed at “street drinkers, beggars and other rowdy behavior”..

The soup kitchen is held every night of the year on the upper level of Queen’s Gardens.

It sees volunteers from churches across the borough give out donated food and drinks – as well as toiletries, duvets and clothes – to the homeless and destitute, and can attract up to 50 people a night. But the council believes its customers are a public nuisance.

Nightwatch were informed of the plan to ban the soup kitchen and wrote a letter to the council stating there were not any issues. However, the report said: “Police do not agree and the data supports the police view”. “The soup kitchen attracts individuals that we are actively targeting into the area,” it adds.

The report details a number of bylaws covering Queen’s Gardens which could be used to stop the soup kitchen, and notes that people who breach them are liable to be fined up to £50.

The report also says the soup kitchen could be moved to a different location, but adds the preferred approach is to close it down “utilising all available bye laws and preventing the use of Queen’s Gardens for this activity”.

Statutory homelessness in Croydon is at an eight year high and, during a count completed last Tuesday, rough sleepers were also found to be at record levels.

We have to work together to face these challenges in society, not attack each other over different manifestations of the problem.