Help give homeless a hand

Luke O'Connor and Andy Barnett

Luke O'Connor and Andy Barnett

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A housing charity has appealed for volunteers to help run its new scheme in the north of the county.

Accommodation Concern, which helps people in Kettering, Corby, Desborough and Rothwell deal with homelessness by offering housing advice, has received National Lottery funding, most recently in May this year.

The charity, founded in 1987 and based in Dalkeith Place, Kettering, has named its new scheme the Laura Project after a local teenager.

Staff have encouraged potential volunteers to get in touch to find out more about the scheme, which they say will make a real difference to the lives of people in the area.

Andy Barnett, who gives out advice on behalf of the charity, said: “We work with people who are in crisis, who have hit rock bottom. We support them and work with them, understanding why these things occur.

“We deal with everyone from homeowners to people leaving care – both ends of the scale and everyone in between.”

He added: “Without volunteers we can’t sustain this project. The volunteers will be working alongside us.

“We work with our customers to identify their needs to give that support, that stability.

“It’s a fabulous organisation. I’ve never worked anywhere else that’s been so human. The ethos is very good and we have got some great people who work here. That’s another welcoming point for the volunteers.

“They’ll be coming into a family environment. It’s a very friendly place.”

Mr Barnett also stressed homelessness was something which could happen to anyone, through illness or injury, family break-up or a sudden inability to meet rent payments.

The charity’s strategic manager Julie O’Connor said volunteers would be given the support they needed to get started, adding: “We will be recruiting volunteers who will work alongside other staff. You’ll be the life of the project.

“We’d like to have about 60 volunteers. The time commitment doesn’t have to be huge, but it will certainly increase our capacity to advise if we can get the volunteers on board.”

Volunteers who join the programme will be paid expenses. For more details, call 01536 522277 or go to www.accommodationconcern.co.uk.