A Corby homeless charity has dropped its plan to turn a former gym into a permanent night shelter.
Chairman of Corby Nightlight Diane Boyd said location and lack of funding were the reasons behind the recent decision to not move ahead with plans to build a permanent night shelter at what was once Den’s gym in Cannock Road.
The charity, which has run this winter out of the former Corby police station in Elizabeth Street, had been given planning permission in September by Corby Council. It was originally hoping to have it ready for winter this year, but has not been able to secure funding to make the alterations needed.
There had been objections to the proposed Cannock Road shelter from a number of nearby residents who said they were concerned about safety and people loitering around the shelter.
In a statement released on its Facebook page today the charity said: “It is with a very heavy heart that we have had to inform Corby Council that we are no longer able to take up the lease at Cannock Road. We wish to make it clear that while the Homeless Hub at Cannock Road is not being taken forward, it does not mean that the aims and desires of those at Corby Nightlight have changed.
“We have learned a lot from our operation in the old police station and it has helped to inform and refine our requirements for a longer-term shelter. Unfortunately, Cannock Road would now not meet these new criteria.”
Ms Boyd also said that that trustees had reconsidered the site and had come to realise that it would not have been a good situation if long-term residents of the area were unhappy about the shelter.
The hunt is now on for a new location for a venue for next winter. The terms of the lease mean they will leave the police station on April 23. The charity will also be looking for a new venue to provide lunches.
Ms Boyd said the charity has helped many rough sleepers move on to their own accommodation this year and has worked with other agencies to provide support in finding accommodation and setting up bank accounts.
The charity has a bank of 60 volunteers and has a core of 30 who help it run from 7pm to 7am on weeknights and then again from 11.30am to 2.30pm. At the weekends it opens from 7am to 9.30am.
Amid the success the charity has faced its own dark days this winter. More than £10,000 was stolen from funds and there is a current ongoing police investigation.
In today’s Facebook statement the charity said: “The impact of this event has had an effect far beyond the loss of money itself. In fact, a significant amount of the money that was taken was recovered within a very short period of time. However, the charity relies on the goodwill and trust of the Corby public and it is essential that it retains that trust, so processes have been tightened and improved.”
Former chief executive Nicola Pell also left after being captured in CCTV attacking a former partner outside a Corby pub.