Stevenage YMCA forced to down-size
- Credit: Archant
A charitable organisation has been forced to reduce its services, cutting off a “vital lifeline” to many people who rely on the charity’s support.
Community volunteers at YMCA Space Stevenage were evicted from their premises in the town centre last month and are now operating twice a week from Vineyard Church in Park Place.
Spokesman Clare Gray said: “We are really grateful for the help of one of our local church partners giving us an operational base for a short time. We will be able to offer drop in services with teas and coffees on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am-12pm and we hope to see some of our regular visitors there.
“This is a very reduced service from the support we were previously able to provide. At this time of year we would be supporting people at risk of homelessness with clothing, sleeping bags and food, something we are unable to do now, and providing a vital lifeline of listening and signposting to specialist services, access to computers and friendship in general for many others. Our centre-based youth activities are also on hold for the moment, so it is really important that we find ourselves a new home as soon as possible.”
Old town resident Steve Sapstead, a regular visitor and volunteer at the original centre which was open up to six days a week, feels he has lost a place to meet friends and help vulnerable people.
He said: “I’ve become a better person since coming to the Space centre. They took me on and gave me responsibility. I was using my life experience to really help people, support them and offer advice. I was miserable before I started going there and I think it’s a great loss for the town.”
The organisation hope to find a 1000 sq ft premises from which to operate. Anyone who may be able to help is advised to contact YMCA organiser Karen Eyres on 07904 955269.
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The former YMCA site opposite Stevenage Bus Station currently stands empty but is set to become a Paddy Power betting shop.