Leamington homeless project forced to close its doors for good - The Leamington Observer

Leamington homeless project forced to close its doors for good

Philippa Mingins 5th Sep, 2023 Updated: 5th Sep, 2023   0

A PROJECT helping the homeless in Leamington has been forced to close its doors for good.

The Way Ahead Project was set up by the Salvation Army in Chapel Street in 1999 with a small staff and volunteers.

It was forced to close its doors this April after its main funder withdraw its support but WAP issued a desperate plea for donations and embarked on a recruitment drive for new staff to help get the project back on its feet.

The recruitment drive was unsuccessful.

WAP provided a drop in centre for the town’s street homeless, offering housing advice, access to computers to help with benefit claims and job searches and also hot drinks and snacks

People could also receive help with problems such as addiction, domestic abuse, financial difficulties and loneliness.

During the pandemic Warwick District Council found accommodation for people sleeping on the streets.

But the Salvation Army still continued its support by giving out hundreds of hot breakfasts and packed lunches.

Back in May, Lieutenant-colonel Brenda Oakley from Leamington’s Salvation Army branch, said that while other projects in Leamington had been set up in recent years to help the homeless, and lonely, the Salvation Army still had its part to play and she hoped they could continue their mission.

However, Lieutenant-Colonel Joao Paulo Ramos, West Midlands divisional commander for The Salvation Army, announced this week that they had had to make the difficult decision to close The Way Ahead Project after serving the community for 24 years.

He continued: “Since we were forced to pause the project earlier this year, our focus has always been to make sure the people who use this service can access the support they need. To this end, we’ve worked with other providers in Leamington to make sure clients can access other support available in the town.

“In order to operate the project with safety and care for all who visit us, we needed to recruit a manager and support workers to run it. Recruitment is difficult in many sectors in the UK at the moment and we have been unable to secure staff with the right experience and expertise for our drop-in service.

“We let our clients and volunteers know about the closure in July and have worked with our volunteers to make sure users of the service were redirected to other partners in the town.”

Joao Paulo added: “We would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly at the project over the years, dedicating their time to support others, as well as the community who donated and upheld the project. The project has transformed lives in Leamington.”


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