Hitchin North Herts Sanctuary partners with Stevenage Haven to provide homeless services

North Herts Sanctuary

North Herts Sanctuary - Credit: Archant

A homeless shelter has announced a new partnership to help reshape services and support single homeless people in North Herts.

North Herts Sanctuary in Hitchin, which has been run by homeless charity St Mungo’s, has partnered up with Stevenage Haven, which will take over operating the Nightingale Road hostel from St Mungo’s on July 1.

In January, and following a two-year working partnership with the North Herts Sanctuary, St Mungo’s gave notice that it would no longer manage the homelessness services after the end of March, nor continue with the building development plans.

It followed a number of strikes from staff who were unhappy with proposed changes to their working hours and pension plans.

Stevenage Haven, which is in the process of building a shelter in Stevenage, will now work with North Herts Sanctuary to manage its homeless services.

North Herts Sanctuary will still own the building in Nightingale Road, raise funds to assist homeless individuals, and manage the force of volunteers.

Wendy Wheeler, sanctuary trustee, said: “During the last two years the hard working staff have managed to maintain a very high ‘move-on’ rate for our clients, and establish a new ‘open all hours’ policy.

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“We have every confidence that our new partnership with Stevenage Haven will be successful and continue the success of North Herts Sanctuary. Both charities are fully committed to improve the service and revive the project to rebuild the sanctuary site.”

Nicola Dierickx, finance and communications manager for Stevenage Haven, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity of working with North Herts Sanctuary in this new and exciting partnership. At Stevenage Haven we are committed to ensuring that all of our clients are provided with the help and support they need, in order to successfully rebuild their lives and move on to secure and settled lifestyles within the community. This new partnership will allow us to extend the Haven services further to support many more local people who are in need, within the respective local authority areas.”

Martin Lawrence, strategic housing manager for North Herts District Council, said: “We are pleased about the new partnership between North Herts Sanctuary and Stevenage Haven and are sure that it will be positive for the future redevelopment of the service.”