It is 25 years since Harrogate Homeless Project (HHP) on Bower Street began its mission to help homeless people.
The original concept – started by a consortium of local churches – was to provide shelter and a warm meal.
Now 25 years later the charity has grown to become a 16-bed hostel with a full range of support services designed to get homeless people off the streets, give them a stable environment to deal with the issues that made them homeless, help them get a job and settle them in a home of their own.
Alongside this, HHP fund and run Springboard, a daily support centre offering lunch and a range of services at the Wesley Chapel in Harrogate town centre.
Chief Executive Liz Hancock said:
Over 25 years the service Harrogate Homeless Project offers has changed dramatically. Most people associate dealing with homelessness as handing out a sandwich or providing a roof over someone’s head for a night or two. In truth, this approach is just a sticking plaster rather than the long-term support the homeless need.
The Homeless Project has moved away from giving people a hand-out to giving them the hand-up that can change their lives dramatically and permanently. We provide support with laundry, job searches, benefits, clothing, counselling and a variety of other issues which can help someone stabilise what has often been a difficult and chaotic life.
In our 25th year we will be organising a series of events and initiatives to highlight where we have come from and what we do now.
Some of the initiatives planned for the year include:
- Developing a Friends of Harrogate Homeless group through which individuals and businesses can offer practical and financial support for the Project’s work.
- Doing presentations in schools on the causes of homelessness and how to combat them.
- Launching an impact report examining the changes Harrogate Homeless Project has brought to people’s lives over a quarter of a century.
25 years of helping people back into stable lives, jobs and homes would not have been possible without the support of volunteers, businesses and our local councils. Over the year we will be celebrating that contribution too which has been crucial to our success.
This support needs to be ongoing for our work to continue and I would encourage businesses and individuals to get involved with us. For 25 years together we have made a difference to people’s lives and with community support we can continue that for the next 25 years.