Work begins at groundbreaking Fred Winter Centre

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IT’S all systems go for Stratford’s groundbreaking project to help the homeless.

Planning permission for the Fred Winter Centre was given in June and work started at the end of July on the building in Guild Street.

The construction and fit out is expected to take 30 weeks, with the centre aiming to be open in March next year.

The innovative new housing scheme will provide affordable homes and advice and support services for local people facing homelessness, has started on site. The centre is a partnership between local housing associations and charities, and is supported by the national government, local councils and the town trust.

It will also provide a new, permanent home for the foodbank.

Paul Spooner, chair of the Fred Winter Centre Partnership, said: “We are very pleased that the project has reached this important milestone. This is down to the continuing commitment of all our partners and supporters.

“People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, probably through no fault of their own, face complex challenges.

The pandemic, and all its consequences, add to the pressures vulnerable people face. The Fred Winter Centre with its safe, affordable accommodation and multi agency approach to addressing the root causes of homelessness will be even more important over the coming years.”

Dominic Bradley, chief executive of Spring Housing, which has a leading role in the running of the centre, added: “This is a really innovative development. It’s not often we can bring so many organisations together for one cause namely to make homelessness brief and non-recurring in the town – the building has been co-designed with those that have experienced homelessness.

“The Fred Winter Centre has the potential to showcase all that is good about the community in Stratford and really evidence what we can achieve when working together.”

Midlands firm Calztec, which has a track record of the conversion of buildings for new uses, have been appointed by Spring Housing as the building contractor.