Plans are moving forward for a new night shelter in the grounds of Wellingborough School.
Wellingborough Homeless Forum hopes that the shelter for the town’s homeless will be open by the end of January following internal works to the building in the grounds of the public school in London Road.
Until that time a roving night shelter is operating five nights a week at churches around the town with an army of 40-plus registered volunteers helping out to make sure the growing number of rough sleepers in Wellingborough have somewhere warm to stay this winter.
Val Anslow of the forum, who is also a Wellingborough borough councillor, said she hopes the building will be open by the end of January. The forum has 24 registered rough sleepers.
Wellingborough Council approved the planning application to convert the store room into a night shelter last month. One of the planning conditions was to provide a fence on the site to create a walkway from the car park to the entrance building and Cllr Anslow has just submitted the paperwork.
The works will cost £6,500 and funds have been collected through fundraising including a sleepout in October which raised £4,500.
Cllr Anslow said: “An architect has produced some plans and we have had some quotes for the work to be done. We are now waiting on the council to process it and we hope that will be done as a matter of urgency.”
The borough council, which had a £1.5m bill in the last financial year for temporary accommodation costs for homeless families, has not committed any funds or grants to the night shelter. It will be buying 10 homes at a cost of £1.75m to add to its housing stock to house those families in need.
The Wellingborough Night Shelter will provide an evening meal and breakfast and have 12 beds.
There is much support for those without a home in Wellingborough. Local builder Higgins has donated materials for the building works and residents and other organisation have donated too.
Cllr Anslow said: “We have had lots of people offering to give things to us. We have been given beds and a microwave and so it really has been a community effort.”
The forum is having a recruitment evening for volunteers on Monday, December 17, at the Victoria Centre in Palk Road, Wellingborough, from 6pm to 8.30pm.
Volunteers must be over 18 and be willing to have a DBS check.