“I’d still be sleeping in churchyards if it wasn’t for this place.”
That was the simple message from one user of Wellingborough’s Daylight Centre at an event marking 20 years of support for vulnerable adults in the area.
The Daylight Centre Fellowship, an independent local charity which opened its doors in December 1994, aims to meet a variety of personal needs - everything from mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse to homelessness and isolation.
It also offers a hot meal, a warm place to meet and access to practical support such as sourcing benefits and work opportunities or simply using a telephone or the internet.
The anniversary celebration held today (Tuesday), which was attended by the mayor and mayoress of Wellingborough, other representatives of Wellingborough Council and local church leaders, was a chance to say thank you to staff, partners, supporters and the volunteers who enable the centre to offer its life-changing range of services.
It also allowed guests to hear more about why the centre is so important, including from the users themselves.
Among those at the event was former alcoholic Steve, who began dropping in at Queen’s Hall just a few months after it opened.
He said: “I would drink 14 pints a day and at night, I’d lie down in a graveyard and use a half-drunk bag of cider as my pillow.
“But coming here and meeting others who understood what I was going through has turned my life around.
“Now I have somewhere to live, friends to talk to and something to want to get up for.”
While it was a significant milestone to mark, centre manager Paul Adams said it was also a bittersweet reflection of the centre’s two decades in operation.
He said: “We’ve served thousands of hot meals, provided many thousand hours of advice and changed many lives along the way and of course today’s event has been a great opportunity to demonstrate just how valuable this place is.
“But in a way it’s sad that, twenty years on, the demand for our services is as great as it has ever been.
“That’s why we’re urging anyone who feels that they can donate money, food or help to come forward and support us so that we can still be here in another twenty years.”
For more information about the work of the Daylight Centre Fellowship, visit www.daylightcf.org or www.facebook.com/daylightcentre.
Anyone who would like to offer support or volunteer can call the team on 01933 446490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.