Residents reassured over plans for new bedsits

Amelia Luffrum receives keys to the former pet shop from John Duncan, right, earlier this year.
Amelia Luffrum receives keys to the former pet shop from John Duncan, right, earlier this year.

Vulnerable adults at a new bedsit complex in South Tyneside will not be “left to their own devices”, a charity spokeswoman has pledged.

The aim of Hospitality and Hope is to convert the upstairs of the former Duncans pet shop at Chichester, South Shields, to provide accommodation for five adult males early next year.

This is about rehabilitation, it’s not just about somewhere for them to live.

Amelia Luffram

Meanwhile, funds are still being sought to enable the downstairs of the property to be converted into a community cafe.

Recent applications for the creation of homes of multiple-occupancy have led to objections from residents, particularly in the Laygate area of the town.

But no objections have been received to the Christian charity’s bedsit plan.

Amelia Luffrum, project manager with the charity, said: “There will be five bedsits with shared living accommodation. The five people to live there will be selected from those people who use our soup kitchens and there will be an interview process.

“They will not necessarily be homeless but they will all be vulnerable in some way.

“This is about rehabilitation, it’s not just about somewhere for them to live.

“They will be living in a Christian community as a family in a family environment. It’s about them not just considering themselves but having to think about each other, so they will shop for the group and cook for the group with the aim of being integrated back into society.

“They won’t be left to their own devices, this is going to be supported living, with access to a support worker during the day and a concierge at night.”

Hospitality and Hope, now based at the former Hampden Street Day Centre in South Shields, runs food banks and soup kitchens across the town.

It was able to move into the former pet shop after the North East’s Willan Trust bought the building and rented it at a peppercorn rent.

It’s a hugely ambitious project with first year running costs expected to cost in the region of £500,000.

If you can help with fundraising in any way, log on to www.hospitalityandhope.co.uk