The race is on to secure enough funding to keep the Ferry Project Night Shelter in Wisbech open.
Three years of funding for the shelter runs out at the end of March and new funding needs to be secured to keep it open. It will cost £65,000 to keep the shelter open until the end of the year.
Ferry Project director Keith Smith said attempts to get funding from charities and government have been unsuccessful, securing just £5,000 from Fenland District Council.
“In our 15 year history, we have never had to do this,” Mr Smith said. “We have trimmed as far as we can and have nowhere else to go in terms of saving money.”
It costs £2,500 a week to run the night shelter and Mr Smith said they are prepared to run “hand-to-mouth” depending on the money they have.
The Ferry Project is appealing to charities, corporate sponsors and the public for their support. There have already been pledges of money from local churches and Mr Smith is hoping that this will continue.
The 12-bed homeless shelter in Norfolk Street provides a safe place for vulnerable people to sleep, 365 days a year. Last year, it helped 145 people of all ages, from 12 different nationalities.
Mr Smith said: “If it wasn’t for those 145 people who would have otherwise been on the streets, I wouldn’t be doing this now. But I have no option.”
The cash appeal is a short-term solution. They plan to apply for European funding at the end of the year and are hoping they can then be self-sustaining as a business.
The Ferry Project is in the process of setting up a printing business that can be run from the night shelter, but it is still in its infancy, with staff learning how to use the machinery.
If you can help the night shelter, call 01945-429300 or visit www.ferryproject.org.uk to donate online.