An update from Anita McCallum, SMART CJS CEO.

I am excited to report that thanks to our superstar staff, our incredible volunteers and SMART supporters, the phased reopening of the Prebend Homeless Centre commenced last week.

So far, we have welcomed around 14 people a day into the centre for a chat, a warm drink, and a hot takeaway meal. We have spoken to several people who are struggling to afford food because of the rise of living costs and the reduction of Universal Credit. People without a home have been able to talk about their situation, get food, collect their post (the building is a registered address for many) and use the phone to make essential calls.

The centre is currently open for two hours over the lunchtime period (12:00pm – 2pm), weekdays, to people already in emergency accommodation, people experiencing homelessness (with limited access to food) and rough sleepers. Without our kind and generous community donating to the Cold Relief In Bedford (CRIB) appeal we would not have achieved this – THANK YOU!

An incredible £25k has been raised so far. That gets us halfway towards the £50k appeal target and has helped the centre to reach the first milestone of reopening.

An additional £25k is still needed to hit our fundraising target – this will help us to progress to phase two of the centre reopening, with increased staff on site, enabling longer opening hours to help meet people’s needs.

The CRIB appeal runs until the 28th of February. Please, if you can, donate so we can provide a safe space and practical help to people that are homeless or facing becoming homeless.

Please keep spreading the word, share this email with your contacts, family, friends, colleagues and others – I know we can do this together!

Anita McCallum

Chief Executive Officer- SMART CJS.