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Redbridge Together: Salvation Army to open winter shelter for longer amid ‘pop-up’ hostel delays

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 31 October 2018

Decorating a 'Project Malachi' wallhanging with handprints outside the Salvation Army in Ilford, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Decorating a 'Project Malachi' wallhanging with handprints outside the Salvation Army in Ilford, on 29th July, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Archant/Catherine Davison

Unforeseen costs have delayed the creation of a pioneering “pop-up” homeless hostel in Ilford.

Former rough sleeper Mindas stayed at the night shelter for the past six winters. This year he returns as a volunteer. Photo: John CliftonFormer rough sleeper Mindas stayed at the night shelter for the past six winters. This year he returns as a volunteer. Photo: John Clifton

But the Ilford Salvation Army (SA) is opening its temporary winter night shelter earlier and for longer to compensate.

The SA’s Project Malachi was slated to open in November this year, seeing the creation of 42 units of temporary accommodation from recycled shipping containers in Chadwick Road.

Ilford Salvation Army captain John Clifton believes it will now be up and running by summer 2019.

“We are still very committed to the project,” Captain Clifton said.

“Having these delays is very frustrating and disappointing.”

“But we have been refining the designs to make sure we have got the product we need in order to meet the needs [of rough sleepers] within our costs.”

In March, Redbridge Council’s planning committee gave unanimous approval to a five-year temporary planning application for Project Malachi to set up shop on the crumbling site of the former Gilderson’s funeral directors.

Captain Clifton explained that scheme had initial “high level cost estimates”.

But the charity has “realised some costs are increasing” as more detailed designs have been developed.

In the meantime, the winter night shelter is set to open on November 12 and stay open indefinitely until Project Malachi is up and running.

The SA and partner charities will also begin offering rough sleeper support services at the night shelter which were originally planned to accompany Project Malachi.

“We can get the staff support and programme work in place now and the building will catch up,” Capt Clifton said.

“It’s not just about giving people a safe place to stay and keeping people alive.”

“We really want to see people move on from the shelter and into better situations.”

To this end they charity will begin advertising to recruit support workers.

Qualified immigration advisors and caseworkers from the Refugee and Migrant Forum East London (Ramfel) will also begin helping those unable to access government support due to their immigration status.

“Through Redbridge Together there is much more opportunity to help people move into work,” Captain Clifton added.

Redbridge Council is providing the additional funds needed to run the night shelter for longer.

It will require an estimated 200 volunteers to keep it running, of which 103 have been recruited so far.

“We need the community to come together,” said Captain Clifton.

“The people which are on our streets – they are Christian, Sikh, Muslim and from all backgrounds as diverse as our borough.”

“We need support from our whole community to do this.”

Sixty-five people were found to be sleeping rough in Redbridge, according to most recent snapshot count.

Earlier this month, The Recorder revealed that nine died homeless in the borough since October 2017.

Former rough sleeper Mindas, who came to the UK from Lithuania as a student 11 years ago, delivered a speech at a volunteer training session last night, October 30.

He slept rough in Ilford for around six years, taking respite at the Salvation Army night shelter during the winters.

This year he returns to volunteer after securing a job in construction and a home.

“At the end of my course I couldn’t find a job, I had some family issues so I was told to move out with nowhere to go,” he said.

“I was a guest here at the last six shelters.”

He added: “Please remember that shelter offers people hope.

“I gave up hope a few times and it wasn’t easy.

“So don’t give up hope, so that others in same situation that I was in can also have hope for better days.”

Another volunteer training is set to take place at the Salvation Army building, in Clements Road, on Saturday (November 3) from 1pm to 3pm.

To volunteer at the night shelter go to www.ilfordshelter.com.

_____________________________________________________________

Redbridge Together

Redbridge Together aims to raise £500,000 for two projects at the heart of helping the homeless in the borough.

Two thirds of all money raised will go towards the creation of pioneering pop-up hostel Project Malachi and one third to The Welcome Centre day centre for the homeless.

Project Malachi aims to create a temporary hostel for rough sleepers and homeless people using recycled shipping containers on the site of a crumbling former funeral directors in Chadwick Road to rebuild their lives.

The Welcome Centre, in St Mary’s Road, offers wide ranging services from laundry to counselling.

You can support by donating money, raising funds, displaying Redbridge Together promotional material in businesses or offering work placements.

Redbridge Together is an association an association between Ilford Salvation Army, The Welcome Centre, Ilford BID, the Ilford Recorder and Redbridge Council.

To get involved email: aaron.walawalkar@archant.co.uk

Donate £3 by texting LIFE to 70145 or at Crowdfunder.co.uk/RedbridgeTogether

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