A MAJOR boost for services for homeless people and rough sleepers in Bognor Regis has come with the news of a grant of more than £180,000 for West Sussex County Council and charity Stonepillow.
The £188,465 of capital funding, from Public Health England (PHE) will be used to redevelop and refurbish a purpose-built resource hub.
This will be open to rough sleepers, people who are homeless or those who are vulnerably housed within Bognor Regis and the surrounding area.
The work will involve the design and re-construction of the building, as well as the redecoration of the interior and refurnishing, with new equipment including items for a medical treatment room and IT suite.
Chief executive of Stonepillow Hilary Bartle and the board of trustees of the charity issued a joint statement welcoming the funding.
It said: “Stonepillow are very excited about the successful outcome of the PHE bid it submitted with support from West Sussex County Council to Public Health England.
“It will allow us to undertake the refurbishment and development required to deliver a resource hub in Bognor Regis
“It will create a clear pathway for rough sleepers and homeless vulnerable clients with substance misuse issues to access alcohol treatment and receive medical and therapeutic interventions.
“We look forward to working with our partner agencies and clients in getting this project up and running so we can get on and deliver an innovative multi-agency service.”
Stonepillow will link the new service with its existing work at the Glenlogie day service in Clarence Road and the Ellasdale Road hostel.
The charity opened the hostel last summer at a cost of £1.4m. It provides 16 individual en-suite rooms. Some can accommodate couples and people with dogs.
The county council’s director of public health, Anna Raleigh, said: “This funding will allow us to support some of the most vulnerable residents in our communities, and I am very pleased that PHE has recognised the huge potential that this project has to have a positive impact on our residents’ lives.”
Charities such as Stonepillow and the county council have clashed recently over the council’s decision to slash its funding for housing support services.
The plight of rough sleepers around Bognor Regis town centre has also been a topic of debate among residents as the number of homeless people bedding down on the streets and in doorways has grown in the past few years.
Stonepillow sees high numbers of people who experience difficulties with their alcohol use.
PHE says people who are homeless or in temporary housing are often the most vulnerable in society. Many use alcohol to cope with life on the streets but they are also at greatest risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm and ill health.