University of Northampton graduates helping Kettering’s homeless

Paul Millen and Sylvia Mclevy
Paul Millen and Sylvia Mclevy

A new shelter in Kettering run by former University of Northampton students is providing a lifeline to people who are rough sleeping in the town less than a month after opening its doors.

Law graduate Paul Millen and former psychology student Sylvia Mclevy are the directors of Safe Until Daylight which helps homeless adults bed down during the winter months.

Based at ‘The Hub’ at the Eden Centre in Montagu Street, the shelter has 15 beds with a total weekly capacity of 75 places.

The shelter is volunteer-run and provides a bed and meal for those referred from Kettering Council from 10pm-7.30am, Sundays to Friday.

Homelessness has become a pressing national issue due to a multiple number of factors, including the reduced number of available houses across the country and national changes to how homeless people are prioritised for support.

Paul, who has previously volunteered as a team-leader at the Nightlight centre in Corby, teamed up with Sylvia who works at the Kettering Community Unit to help those who find themselves homeless during the cold weather, with the possibility to extend the service beyond this season.

Robin Sturman-Coombs, senior lecturer in Social Work at University of Northampton, acts as secretary for Safe Until Daylight and has supported the project from the outset.

The service has already been a success. For their first week alone, 33 beds were taken growing to 65 in the third week.

Sylvia said: “Safe Until Daylight is already helping homeless people bed down and stay safe during the colder hours of the day. Unfortunately, services like ours will continue to be needed.

“Kettering Council have been brilliant to work with on what is a vital and pressing problem, not just locally but on a wider scale across the country.

One of the guests at Safe Until Daylight praised the service, saying: “When I was asked if I would come and sleep at the shelter if it opened, I didn’t believe it because I’d given up hope. But Paul and Sylvia did it. They have helped us so much.”

Visit www.safeuntildaylight.org for more information.