Kettering group calls for more support for people in need in the town

A voluntary group is calling for better support for people who find themselves vulnerable and without a roof over their head in Kettering.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 5:30 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 9:02 am
Denise and Charlotte Mackay at the launch of the book written by Johnny Mackay

Johnny’s Happy Place (JHP) was set up by the family of Johnny Mackay who died after taking his own life on October 23, 2014, aged just 29.

The voluntary organisation runs a cafe at the Keystone Youth Centre in Rockingham Road, Kettering, to support people like Johnny.

They decided to open on Saturdays as they feel there is not much available at weekends for people with mental health issues, but due to its popularity, the cafe now opens for several hours on a Sunday too.

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The charity was set up in memory of Johnny Mackay of Kettering

But while they want to help people like Johnny, his mum Denise Mackay says there is a limit to what they can do.

Denise is calling for better support in the town after a Polish man recently came to them for help.

She said: “He was found outside, desperate.

“He was saying ‘please help me’ so we brought him in, cared for him and found accommodation for him.”

The charity was set up in memory of Johnny Mackay of Kettering

As it was the weekend, there was very little help available to him until Monday morning.

He had lost his job because he didn’t have a National Insurance number so one of the JHP volunteers was going to take him to Birmingham to sort it.

Denise said: “I know there are reasons why some of them can’t be re-housed.

“But for whatever reason they have got themselves into this situation and they need help.

“They have nowhere.

“We are all so upset about people like this guy, but the people who should be helping them are not.

“There’s absolutely nowhere for them to go, it just seems that nobody is addressing the problem.”

She added: “We can’t help everybody but this guy doesn’t drink and he wasn’t taking drugs, he just wants to work and he can’t get anything to enable him to work.

“Someone somewhere needs to address this most appalling situation.

“These people are struggling so what can we do?”

Denise would like to hear from anyone who may have been able to help in this situation so she has their contact details for future use.

But while she is appealing for help now, Denise said it is not a new problem.

She said: “It’s not something we have just become aware of, it’s something that Johnny and I were aware of long before Johnny died.

“These people need somewhere they can take off their dirty clothes, get second-hand clothes, have a shower, some sheets to sleep in and have some breakfast.

“We are not there to judge, I am not going to say why are you homeless - whatever their history is, if they want to talk to us that’s what we will do.

“We did our bit, but we can’t take them in.”

For more information about Johnny’s Happy Place, click here