‘No one has to sleep rough this Christmas time’: Redbridge Council to open new night shelter in Ilford Lane

A man sleeps rough in a telephone box on Ilford Lane. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar

A man sleeps rough in a telephone box on Ilford Lane. Photo: Aaron Walawalkar - Credit: Archant

All rough sleepers in the borough will be offered a bed to sleep in over the Christmas period until a pioneering pop-up hostel is up and running.

Redbridge Council is due to open a 32-bed temporary night shelter in the former Ryedale Court nursing home, in Ilford Lane, on December 14.

It will stay open until hostel Project Malachi opens in summer 2019, and will be staffed by council officers with help from volunteers and financed through the government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative funding.

“I want no one sleeping rough over Christmas in Redbridge,” pledged Council leader Jas Athwal.

He added that beds will be offered to all 26 people counted sleeping rough in Ilford in the early hours of last Friday (November 30).

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“We will have outreach workers offering support services getting to the bottom of why they are sleeping rough and to try and stop them returning to the streets,” he said.

“But the most important thing is that they will all have a warm bed to sleep in and a shower in the morning.”

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Politicians and charities have warned that - amid the seemingly dramatic decrease in rough sleepers from last years’ estimate of 65 – the crisis is far from solved.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes welcomed the work of the council and Salvation Army, but added: “I don’t have any impression that we have cracked this problem at all.”

He said: “These temporary over-the-winter shelters do not solve the problem.”

He spoke of the need for a “longer term strategy”, throwing his support behind campaign Redbridge Together.

“We need to bring the community together - the council, charities, volunteer groups and businesses,” he added.

“I’m very pleased the Recorder has given this issue such prominence.”

Ryedale Court will become the borough’s second night shelter, alongside the Ilford Salvation Army-run night shelter, in Clements Road.

The shelter opened on November 12 this year, earlier than normal amid delays to Project Malachi, and houses up to 28 people every night.

Captain John Clifton said: “The Salvation Army is proud to have contributed to a lower number of people being on the street by opening the shelter on a permanent basis until Project Malachi opens.

“Although there have been many deaths this year, there are also some people who have moved into accommodation.

“It is important we celebrate the successes as much as we grieve the losses.

He added: “While the numbers are a useful way of measuring the impact of the provision, we should not be complacent.

“Counts like this are widely known not to be a reflection of the true number of people on the street.

“The Salvation Army will continue working hard to open Project Malachi, as well as pushing our partners to make the most of the opportunity the shelter presents to engage more constructively with their clients.”


Redbridge Together

Redbridge Together, of which the Recorder is a media partner, aims to raise £500,000 for Project Malachi and The Welcome Centre.

Project Malachi will see the creation of a temporary hostel for rough sleepers and homeless people made from recycled shipping containers in Chadwick Road.

Support workers from charity Ramfel will provide rough sleepers living in the hostel with immigration advice if they need it.

The Welcome Centre, in St Mary’s Road, helps with providing hot meals, showers, clothing and laundry but also advice and support, training and employment and a nurse-led clinic supporting health and mental health.

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

The campaign is 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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