HOMELESS shelter bosses say a new base is vital to continue supporting those forced to live on Leamington’s streets.
The LWS Night Shelter, which runs at weekends from a temporary base at the Priors Club in Tower Street, was set to move to the former Old Italian Club in Packington Place, off High Street.
Warwick District Council (WDC), which backed the plans, had applied for planning permission to revamp the long derelict building, including the creation of a dormitory style room, a kitchen and communal dining area.
But early on the building was found to be unfit for further redevelopment, despite previous beliefs the building was structurally sound.
The plans to move were abandoned, and with the Priors Club building on the market, the team is desperately seeking a new site.
Directors Sarah Chapman and Susan Rutherford issued a statement.
“LWS had been working with Warwick District Council for some time to find and renovate this new building, and we are obviously extremely disappointed at this setback. The new site would have given us more space for our increasing number of guests, as well as allowing us to extend our offering and provide much needed shower facilities and better storage – which at the moment, we are unable to do.
“It remains vital that LWS finds a new home in the town as the old Priors Club is only a temporary home and its owners have secured planning permission for it to be redeveloped for an alternative use. We hope to continue working with the council and other stakeholders to find a permanent site that meets the long term needs of our local community.”
The shelter opened in 2016, to offer food and overnight accommodation to homeless people in the area for a single winter.
And four years later the organisation – run entirely by volunteers – has become a registered charity and the number of people using it has increased year on year.
The pair added: “Understandably our guests are anxious about the uncertainty surrounding our current premises, but are enthusiastic about the prospect of a new building and are keen to offer their own time and skills in any way they can to make this a reality.”
The organisation relies heavily on donations and provisions from local supporters who have also contributed to a crowdfund to redevelop a new and permanent building.
Visit www.lwsnightshelter.org for more information and search ‘LWS Night Shelter’ at www.justgiving.com to donate.