Harbour Place Day Centre serves up Christmas dinner to homeless
"EVERYBODY in North East Lincolnshire is only two steps away from needing our help."
That was the stark message from Harbour Place Day Centre as it served up Christmas dinner to the homeless and deprived.
While many people will be hoping for new phones, laptops and toys next week, there are many people who will wish for nothing more than a hot meal and a roof over their head – which they can get at the centre in Albert Street, Grimsby.
Project director Allen Young, said: "Everybody in North East Lincolnshire is only two steps away from needing our help. It could be a divorce or a redundancy, but people no longer have savings to fall back on. The number of people in this situation is really becoming quite alarming.
"We've been working very closely with the local authorities to try to prevent people from having to sleep rough.
"The Government has a scheme called 'No Second night out' which aims to prevent people from having to sleep rough.
"I got a call from the police at 6.15am this morning after they'd found a gentlemen in his late 40s sleeping rough outside a shop in Cambridge Street.
"We've now taken him to an interview and managed to get him into accommodation so that he won't be sleeping on the street and he's now here enjoying a Christmas dinner. We will be working with him for quite some time now and hopefully we will be able to help him get his life together."
Over the next two weeks, the centre is expecting to serve more than 500 meals as well as providing people in need with fun Christmas activities, such as bingo and giving out prizes.
John Short, 50, who has been going to the centre since it opened, said: "Everyone is so helpful to the local homeless people. "The place won an award for best charity a few years ago and they really deserved it. The people here are so brilliant; they helped me find my flat and really got me on my feet"
Karen McCall, 46, also enjoyed her Christmas dinner.
"It's nice to know that if there is no food in the cupboard, we'll always be welcome here," she said. In the past year the centre has had a 20 per cent increase in the number of people who come for the food and hygiene facilities that they provide.
Although the number of homeless people in the area is increasing, thanks to the work the centre does with local authorities they are able to take these people off the street and offer them food, help them to find accommodation and give them training and encouragement to get into employment.
This year the number of families struggling to find the money to give their children food and gifts is higher than ever.
The centre offers advice on finances and debt to anyone who is struggling.
Allen thanked generous local churches, schools, industries and private individuals who have donated large amounts for Christmas to Harbour Place, including the Brackenborough and Ashbourne Hotels.
"We also want to thank the Wheatsheaf who gave us a generous donation of around £650. Many local people have been very good to us this year and we are so grateful," he said.