Trying to help the homeless

Re the Sanctuary hostel for the homeless in Hitchin. I read with interest the article in the pre-Christmas issue of your paper and today made a telephone call to the sanctuary offering assistance. It seems that the article generated an enormous amount of

Re the Sanctuary hostel for the homeless in Hitchin. I read with interest the article in the pre-Christmas issue of your paper and today made a telephone call to the sanctuary offering assistance.

It seems that the article generated an enormous amount of goodwill and offers of help. It emerged, however, that before any people can be involved with working directly with vulnerable people, very substantial checks and training have to be carried out. The deputy manager explained that the resources at the hostel are extremely limited and they have neither the funds available to pay for the necessary government checks or the staffing and funding available to provide training for the volunteers.

I applaud totally the need for such checks and training. For volunteers who are seeking a new challenge and to give service in the New Year, this is a disappointing and frustrating situation.

Having had a long career as a trained social worker and having been authorised under the Mental Health Acts, I have now retired. I have the good fortune to have a three-acre site nursery which could provide activity, food and training for future employment for homeless people. While such an offer is much welcomed by the shelter, it seems as if any implementation of a scheme is likely to be many months ahead.


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If any other readers may be interested in working with me at the nursery to get a viable scheme in place ready to receive homeless people at a future date, then I should be delighted to hear from them.

I am out of the country until the beginning of February but may be contacted by email isobelbarnes@aol.com

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ISOBEL BARNES

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