Collapse of charity for the homeless

A Wigan charity which has been turning around the lives of those on the streets for more than a year has been forced to fold.

Monday, 2nd October 2017, 11:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 3:16 pm
Dawn French (left) and Lana Nocker shortly after Helping the Homeless was founded

Helping the Homeless had become a familiar sight in the town centre with its weekly street kitchen giving out hot food, drinks and blankets and also worked to get people without a roof over their heads into accommodation.

However, founders Dawn French and Lana Nocker have had to admit defeat due to financial pressures of keeping the organisation going, closing it after this week’s final evening event in Market Place.

Kitt Green resident Dawn said she was desperately sad to be unable to keep Helping the Homeless going but was proud of what had been achieved and thanked the volunteers.

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Wigan Council has offered its help to Dawn and Lana in the future and stressed its commitment to tackling homelessness meant the charity’s service users would not now be left adrift.

Dawn said: “It’s grown so big so quickly and unfortunately we’re closing down because we can’t find the funding to keep it open. It’s the hardest decision

I’ve ever had to make. I’ve done nothing but cry for a week because I didn’t want it to come to this.

“As a charity it’s not made easy at all to get funding, I think you’ve got a have a degree to understand how to apply for and secure money.

“We’re just all hands-on and know about people on the streets. I set this up from the heart and have given it 110 per cent. Some of the volunteers are gutted, they really enjoy helping people and it has come to an end.

“I would like to thank everybody who has helped us and given us support because it has meant a lot.”

Wigan Council also assured residents that it will do all it can to end rough sleeping.

Stuart Cowley, director for adult social care and health, said: “We would like to thank Helping the Homeless for its work in supporting local individuals and communities. We are looking forward to working with these amazing women to tackle homelessness together in another way.

“We will offer our support to ensure that any resources will be used to support our homelessness work across Wigan borough.

"We’re confident that the work we’ve been doing to eradicate homelessness and the initiatives put in place to help those affected to get their lives back on track will lead to a reduction in demand on these services.

“Our aim is to get to the root cause and prevent someone from becoming homeless in the first place. We’ve already seen a reduction in the number of homeless people and we are working with a number of individuals to provide accommodation and ongoing support. The great work of charities across the borough continues to provide much needed services to residents.”