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Coronavirus postpones Malachi Place official opening

PUBLISHED: 15:37 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:41 13 March 2020

Councillor Jas Athwal, Malachi Justin and Salvation Army Captain Dr John Clifton at the soft opening for Malachi Place. Picture: Roy Chacko

Councillor Jas Athwal, Malachi Justin and Salvation Army Captain Dr John Clifton at the soft opening for Malachi Place. Picture: Roy Chacko

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The official opening of Malachi Place has been postponed due to the coronavirus.

The pop-up homeless hostel which started moving people in almost three weeks ago was due to officially open on Saturday, March 14 but Ilford Salvation Army made the decision today to postpone the opening until further notice.

The Salvation Army has been busy moving people into Malachi Place, the joint effort with Redbridge Council and they expect to be at full capacity by the end of the month.

Dr John Clifton who has been heading up the project for the Salvation Army told the Recorder: 'We're all disappointed obviously but it's the right thing to do.

'We've been in close contact with the council over the last few weeks and we all agreed it's the sensible thing to do to postpone the opening.'

Dr Clifton added that having people living in Malachi Place for the last few weeks during the rise of the virus has been a real blessing.

He said: 'We're so glad Malachi Place is open now because they have a place to be, and a home to call their own.

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'If they had to, how would they self-isolate if they didn't have a place to go and now they do.'

He said to prevent the spread of the coronavirus they are making sure everyone is washing their hands and having public health advice translated to multiple languages to the homeless people who don't speak English.

The Salvation Army has also stopped having self-service food so serving spoons and trays are handled by fewer people.

At the Welcome Centre, in Green Lane, Ilford they are taking similar precautions and are giving out leaflets to everyone who comes in explaining what the virus is, what the symptoms are and how to wash your hands.

Manager Sonia Lynch said they are using hand sanitisers in the building but they don't have enough to give out.

She said: 'In essence, most of the clients that attend the day centre have been accommodated, whether in Malachi Place or Ryedale in Ilford Lane, so they have access to facilities that will help to minimise the risks.

'Having access to a healthcare team on site is also very helpful if anyone feels unwell.'

If anyone would like to donate items, the Welcome Centre can use packets of tissue and water.

The new opening for Malachi Place hasn't been scheduled yet.


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