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Shrewsbury Ark reaches out

Following on from its success as a drop-in centre for those in need, Shrewsbury Ark has been given a grant from Shropshire Council to go out into the community and locate and offer support to rough sleepers, with the aim to deliver on the concept of “no second night out in the cold”.

Since opening in March 2008, Shrewsbury Ark’s principal role has been to offer its services to any homeless and/or vulnerable people who come to its door in Castle Foregate; but it has never had the resources to go out looking for people who can’t or won’t seek help.

With the new service, concerned members of the public are being asked to contact Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 or online at the Streetlink website to report people sleeping rough in their community. The Ark Outreach programme will then respond on the next working day, locating those in need and arranging suitable accommodation. It will also arrange follow-up visits, so clients can benefit from ongoing support and do not have to revert to sleeping rough.

The availability of resources to set up the new outreach service, also means that The Ark will be able to follow up with existing clients in their new homes. Instead of waiting for them to come into the Ark, they will be able to visit them and continue to provide support with paying bills, rent, filling in forms etc. By identifying any problems and intervening as soon as possible, they aim to put a stop the cycle of helplessness and homelessness that many of our clients experience.

In order to take on this new work the Ark’s team has been restructured, with current manager Tim Compton heading up the new Outreach scheme from the Street Pastors offices in Shoplatch, Shrewsbury. Tim is available on 07598 795160 or [email protected].

Current deputy manager Amy Parkes will become the day centre manager, providing all the services that have traditionally been offered by the Ark, and can be contacted on01743 363305 or at [email protected].

Both will report to the Trustees of the SCCA (Registered Charity No 1163476), the Charity that runs the Ark, and will continue to work very closely with Shropshire Council’s housing options team, Rough Sleepers’ Task Force and other statutory organisations, housing agencies, the Street Pastors, and the police, across the whole county.

Howard Hutchings, Chairman of the Ark, commented:

“This is a natural extension of the Ark’s services and will bring new challenges for our team, but we’re really excited to get going and feel this is a hugely positive step in addressing the issues of homelessness before they get out of control, which will be of huge benefit to the county as a whole. We are really grateful for the grant from the council as this has enabled us to promote Tim to this position, full-time; however, we will need donations from the community more than ever, in order to fund the additional work.”

To find out more about our work or to make a donation please visit the Shrewsbury Ark website.

To arrange an interview, photo opportunity or for further information please contact Tim Compton on 07598 795160 or at [email protected].

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