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Pioneering Fred Winter Centre close to opening

Work on Stratford’s much-anticipated Fred Winter Centre is almost complete, with organisations focussed on helping the town’s most vulnerable set to move in this August.

Work at the centre is approaching completion (48645623)
Work at the centre is approaching completion (48645623)

The centre on Guild Street is designed to help the homeless and vulnerable in Stratford, providing a range of services all under one roof.

It will provide 15 units of affordable accommodation, which will make the district council less reliant on bed and breakfast accommodation to house vulnerable people.

Two of these units will be emergency accommodation, for those at risk of immediately becoming homeless, while the 13 other apartments on the top floor will provide somewhere affordable for people to stay for a period of up to two years – people who would otherwise struggle to find alternative accommodation in Stratford.

Stratford Foodbank will call the new centre home, while Citizens Advice, Job Centre Plus and Springs Housing Association, will all be based at the premises, along with a new community café.

The idea is to provide a wide range of support in one place.

Paul Spooner, chair of the Fred Winter Centre Partnership, said: “The contractors are almost done and I know the organisations who will move into the Fred Winter Centre are all very impressed by the finish that has been achieved. Despite the pandemic, we are really pleased with the progress that has been made.

“They will be moving into the premises in August and we expect to open the centre at the beginning of September. People across the district still face the risk of becoming homeless and the pandemic has not made things any easier, but our aim here is to help people with a wrap around service, providing support to help prevent people from becoming homeless.

“This Housing Plus Centre will be the first of its kind in the region.”

Paul added that the apartments within the Fred Winter Centre will all be self-contained, with many designed for single people, who may otherwise be placed in bed and breakfasts by the district council.

Since the closure of the Stratford Link Project homeless drop-in centre in March 2019 following safety concerns, there has been pressure on the district council to do more to support the town’s most vulnerable. Funding is being provided to the centre by district, county
and town councils and has the support of local charities, health agencies and volunteer bodies who work with rough sleepers and homeless people.

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