Work underway to transform Westcliff hotel into shelter as charity receives funding
WORK has officially begun to transform a former hotel into a shelter to help get homeless people off the streets of Southend.
Off The Streets - a Southend-based charity - is celebrating after receiving £220,000 in National Lottery funding to enable them to open the new shelter.
The money will help the charity cover the cost of a refurbishment of the new shelter, in the former Trinity Hotel, Trinity Avenue as well as enabling them to concentrate on fundraising for the day to day running of the shelter.
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The property will offer seven en-suite bedrooms including two double rooms.
One of the rooms on the ground floor will also be rebuilt to allow appropriate access for a disabled resident.
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According to charity, the new shelter will be complete and opening in 2023.
Kirsty Fields, shelter manager, said: “This shelter is so needed and will make a huge difference to so many lives.
“To us, it is a shelter, but to our guests let’s remember, it is their home and their safe space.
“It will mean we can help reduce the numbers of those rough sleeping.
“We will also run classes and coffee morning too as it is things like this that are just as important sometimes, a chat and someone to listen to how they are feeling.
“Work has started, and it is so exciting to see the progression and changes happening.
“We have a great team of builders that really get our vision.”
Off The Streets first came together as a group of concerned residents who felt that more needed to be done to help rough sleepers and a night shelter was opened up in Beedell Avenue, Westcliff in September 2018.
According to Off The Streets, Southend’s rough sleeping population has risen 26 per cent in the last year.
Ms Fields added: “It feels great to receive the funding. I really hope to emphasise the message that if you set your mind to something you can achieve it.
“Thanks to National Lottery players we can now get the shelter transformed and turn it into a home for our guests.
“Being able to help people create safer futures and have a fresh start is so rewarding and National Lottery has helped make this possible.
“A big thanks again for helping us, this will make a big difference to people’s lives in our community.”