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Homelessness charity opens new centre in Leicester

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope charity has opened a new 4,600 sq ft centre on Melton Street in Leicester. The Hope Centre will enable the charity to extend its range of specialist support services including mentoring and mental health wellbeing, and to provide up to 100 early breakfast servings for rough sleepers per week and almost 10,000 meals per year to the homeless and vulnerable.

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope charity is run by over 60 volunteers plus three part- and full-time staff, and has been helping homeless people to turn their lives around since 2009. The charity was previously based at the Salvation Army centre in Leicester city centre.

The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope also offers a place to talk and be listened to; advice, support, guidance and sign posting; outreach and support for rough sleepers; mentoring; an informal, holistic approach to health and well-being; focused recovery support groups; connections with like-minded agencies; Faith in Action; and most importantly, hope.

The new centre is located at a former hosiery factory at 43 Melton Street, Leicester LE1 3NB. It is open on Thursdays (from 6.30-8pm) and Sundays (3-5pm) and currently from Monday to Friday (6-8am) for rough sleepers only. For more information, visit www.bridgeleicester.org.

Steve Owen, Chair of The Bridge – Homelessness to Hope said: “Our clients are amongst the most marginalised people in the city. Frequently, there is no other voluntary sector service willing to work directly with some of the multi-disadvantaged and often challenging people that we see every day.

“The charity is focused on building hope, enabling well-being and offering opportunities. The true test of any of our activities, projects or services is whether they will result in increased hope for our clients.

“We are delighted to have secured our new location on a nine-year lease and aim to be open for six days per week as soon as funding is available to support this.

“We believe that the building will provide us with a base to help our clients to learn new skills and build their confidence, move forward into more fulfilled lives and crucially, increase their life expectancy.”

Rebekah Vardy, media personality, charity supporter and wife of footballer, Jamie Vardy, officially opened the new centre and added: “It’s an honour to be invited to open The Bridge, this place is going to give invaluable support to the disadvantaged people in our area. You never know what is going to be around the corner in life and I was shocked at the age of 15 to be made homeless. I was lucky enough to never have to spend a night sleeping outside in the cold. I had friends who let me sofa surf at their places until I managed to find myself a permanent home but not everyone is that fortunate which is why places like The Bridge are so important.”

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