Oct 2015

Ben’s Centre Seeks To Support More of Sheffield’s Homeless

Ben’s Centre is a drop in centre and outreach service which supports some of the most vulnerable people within Sheffield’s homeless community.

The centre has two main aims:

  •  To meet the immediate needs of Chronic Street Drinkers by providing a sanctuary away from the streets where they receive food, clothing, laundry and personal hygiene facilities.
  • To help each client address the issues at the heart of their alcohol dependency to enable them to turn their lives around through alcohol advice, life skills training, health clinics, use of IT and signposting.

Established 20 years ago by PC Ian (Ben) Sherman, who is still a Trustee, Ben’s Centre provides a unique service in Sheffield. Having observed a relentless cycle of street drinking, anti-social behaviour, arrests and detainments, and subsequent return to the streets, PC Sherman wanted to establish a better way to engage with this highly vulnerable and problematic group.

Ben’s Centre has been helping Chronic Street Drinkers ever since and now helps over 150 people a year, serving almost 2,500 meals. At the end of 2014 Ben’s Centre relocated its services to a new (listed) building. Whilst the ground and first floor of the property is spacious and will adequately provide office/treatment and breakout space, there are currently no suitable facilities to serve meals and provide washing facilities, therefore they cannot currently operate the drop in facility.

Ben’s Centre approached CRASH for help to modify the basement of the new building to provide new shower and toilet facilities and refurbish the stairs to provide safe and user friendly access for staff and clients. They would also like to give their existing kitchen a makeover including installation of cooking and extraction facilities.

To date, CRASH has given Ben’s Centre a development grant of £5,000 to help them get their plans off the ground. CRASH Patron AECOM (pictured above with Sue from Ben’s Centre) carried out a drainage survey and Imtech are helping design and specify the extraction required for the new kitchen facility. CRASH supporter Lucion Environmental Ltd has carried out an asbestos survey at a greatly reduced rate which will further enable the detailed planning and execution of the refurbishment works.

The charity now needs a contractor to come on board to really get things going…

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