A project run by Bridlington’s churches, which will help people who have found themselves homeless get back on their feet, has finally come to fruition.
Hope Housing Bridlington has worked with Christian charity Green Pastures who have bought a property in the town. It will act as a ‘halfway house’ to help people get out of hostels or off the streets.
A part-time housing support officer, Ian Burbidge, has recently been appointed and will visit the house most days along with volunteers.
He has experience in this field of work having run a similar project in Leicestershire as well as being a worshipping member of the Priory and former associate Baptist minister.
Three people will be able to stay in the house at one time with their own bedrooms and share facilities of the living room, kitchen and bathroom.
The exact location of the house will not be revealed, however Ian says “it is a three minute walk from the harbour”.
People will have to be referred to Ian through other agencies such as The Hinge Centre in order to access the project.
Speaking about how the ‘halfway house’ will get people back on their feet, Ian said: “It’s a needs-led operation and we will do whatever we can to ensure people get the most out of their stay.
“I will call into the house most days along with volunteers. I will help out with form filling, taking people to appointments, teaching how to budget and live on money for future, and basic cooking.
“We will also ensure that people can get the most out of life so if one person has a particular interest we will try to fulfil that for example, going to the gym, I’ll take them. Or, if someone wants to go fishing I’ll perhaps see if a volunteer can take them and make that happen.”
People who are staying in the house will have to pay a weekly service charge for gas, electric and council tax.
There is no time limit on the amount of time somebody can stay in the house, but Ian says “some people could be here for six months whereas others who might need a lot of support could stay two to three years”.
Area dean, the Rev Matthew Pollard, Rector at Bridlington Priory, described the project as “a real vision” when plans were put together early last year.
He said: “This is all the Anglican churches working together,from the Flamborough peninsula up to Reighton, out on to the Wolds and down to Ulrome. It’s a very exciting and positive time for Bridlington. We are taking the churches’ commitment to meeting people’s needs and showing Christian love.”
Although homelessness is often thought of as a problem in big cities, organisations working in Bridlington said they had seen a sharp rise in people sleeping on the streets last year.
Rev Pollard added: “So many people are vulnerable to being homeless because they are facing various issues. We have looked into what provisions there are in Bridlington and spoken to the strategic housing department at East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
“Our vision is shared by people in a number of churches in Bridlington, the Priory, Christ Church and Emmanuel – to do something about homelessness.”
Green Pastures is a charity which says it wants to see every church in the UK having one house to help the homeless. It started in Southport in 1997 and works around the North of England.
Ian added: “We hope to have our first resident in the house by October 1 as we are in the middle of getting the house ready by decorating, fitting fire doors and alarm systems.”