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Wisbech Night Shelter up for sale after move

General View of the Ferry Project building in WIsbech that is now all boarded up ANL-150622-184702009
General View of the Ferry Project building in WIsbech that is now all boarded up ANL-150622-184702009

A building which once housed Wisbech’s night shelter has been put up for sale after the facilities have moved into a new site.

The Ferry Project has shut down its Norfolk Street premises and moved the shelter into its Octavia View building.

Director Keith Smith said the new site holds two more beds and will be more sustainable.

The shelter was founded four years ago and annually costs £60,000, which was met last year by donations after Government funding ended.

Up to 400 people a year, mainly men, seek the help of the Ferry Project, which also runs a hostel and other services.

The Norfolk Street shelter offered 12 beds but this has risen to 14 since the move into Octavia View in January. The former site has recently been put up for sale.

Mr Smith said: “The reason we brought the night shelter into Octavia View is that we were able to reduce our costs and we have also been able to increase our beds.

“The arrangement at Octavia View has been very successful but I am not happy with the number of people who are homeless each year.”

Mr Smith said the project was advised by its insurers to board up the Norfolk Street site while it is up for sale.

The Ferry Project, which works with Fenland District Council, aims to help people who are homeless get back on their feet.

It also runs a 24-bed hostel at Octavia View and the average stay is 16 weeks.

Statistics collected by the project show that 85 per cent of the clients move on to stable accommodation and 60 per cent gain employment while staying at the hostel.

Mr Smith said the average age of people using the services is 34 and family break-downs is the biggest contributing factor to people ending up on the streets.

Police Community Support Officer Lisa Mann told Wisbech Town Council at their latest meeting: “We have a lot of homeless people in Wisbech.

“There’s no solution unless someone opens up more beds. We can move them on but we are moving them to someone else’s doorstep.”

Mr Smith said that there was no need to expand the shelter.

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