Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
High Sheriff visits Harp homeless centre
5:00am Tuesday 10th May 2011 in Local News
A CHARITY for the homeless that aims to expand in Southend received a special visit from the High Sheriff of Essex.
HARP (Homeless Action Resource Project) wants to transform the empty Darnley Hotel, in York Road, into a combined accommodation and training centre.
It would provide 24-hour help, including 21 beds, living space and training rooms, as well as a dedicated medical centre.
It would replace the day centre, in Valkyrie Road, Westcliff, which is in poor repair, as well as the 14-bed night shelter, also in York Road.
It was High Sheriff Lady Ruggles-Brise’s first visit to the day centre.
She was invited to find out more about the services provided.
As part of her tour, she was shown plans for the Darnley Hotel site, as well as more immediate plans for a medical room, staffed by doctors and nurses, at the day centre.
She said: “The Harp project is a very needed charity.
“It was lovely to see the way everybody is extremely positive about the services they receive, as well as the quality.
“The charity does a tremendous job.
“The facility is cramped here and it is a very progressive team, which wants to expand.”
As well as providing breakfasts and dinners, the centre also offers basic training skills, as well as a change of clothes, food parcels and internet facilities to search for jobs and accommodation.
The charity has helped between 1,500 and 2,000 people a year since it launched 25 years ago.
It hopes the move to the £1.25million accommodation and training centre will allow it to aid even more people.
Neal McArdle, the charity’s resettlement team leader, said: “We would be able to offer better quality services and help more people.
“The location would mean we could work closely with clients.”
The charity still needs £400,000 to carry out the scheme.
It is in the process of completing a planning application for the scheme.
The move follows a positive response from a public consultation.
The proposals will be submitted to Southend Council ishortly.
To donate to the project, call 01702 615000 or visit www.harpsouthend.co.uk