Businesses in Wirral have offered a helping hand to homeless people in the borough after helping to upgrade emergency accommodation units. Tony McDonough reports
Wirral businesses have been offering their support to a emergency overnight triage refuge for homeless people in Birkenhead during the winter.
Donations from local firms have helped to equip newly-refurbished units of accommodation at the faculty run by YMCA Wirral. It offers men and women living on the streets with a place of safety and warmth.
Thanking local businesses for backing the Winter Support Appeal, Nigel Hughes, YMCA Wirral’s chief executive, said their generosity had once again brought “comfort and dignity” to those suffering the hardships of cold nights out on the street.
He added: “Homelessness is still an issue even though a huge amount of work has been done both locally and nationally. However, I do worry that with worsening financial pressures the issue is not going away.
“Ongoing social problems such as the lack of affordable housing and unemployment will continue to impact people’s lives. Men and women can become homeless for a variety of reasons – when they run out of money and cannot afford rents, have to escape abusive relationships, exit the prison system or even leave the armed forces.
“Although homelessness is particularly awful during the winter months, sadly it’s an all-year-round problem too as mental health issues, relationship break-downs, anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug misuse can see people ending up living on the streets.”
Nigel added that the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the importance of the services YMCA provides, both in keeping staff safe and supporting the needs of the homeless.
He explained: “This is why we are so grateful to all the local businesses for their support in the refurbishment of our emergency accommodation and also to Wirral Council whose support for us throughout the pandemic has been amazing.
“Because of their efforts, the men and women staying with us overnight can have some comfort and dignity while also receiving help and support to get them into secure longer-term accommodation.”
Businesses whose financial donations have been making a difference to the lives of the street homeless are particle board and laminate flooring manufacturer Finsa UK, recruitment firm Russell Taylor Group, Recruit Right, Curtis Painting, Samelco Web Technology, Inteb and Typhoo Tea which donated tea products..
Due to coronavirus distancing restrictions, the former night shelter in Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead, which could take up to 15 people overnight, has been converted into five self-contained units with en-suite bathrooms and, as YMCA Wirral’s Emergency Night Triage Centre, individuals’ needs and priorities can be assessed.