Fresh funding boost for homeless hubs bid

Wigan Council homelessness champions with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham
Wigan Council homelessness champions with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham

A major boost has been given to efforts to open two hubs for the homeless in the borough.


Support from the government’s rough sleeping initiative, totalling £340,000, will be invested in two facilities, one in Wigan and the other in Leigh.

The planned hub for Leigh, based in the former magistrates court building, was supposed to open at the end of January.

But the project was delayed, which resulted in Atherton and Leigh Shelter for Hope opting to run its winter relief work from the New Life PentecostalChurch in Ullswater Street, and Homeless Support Project continuing to offer meals from its Railway Road base.

The location of the Wigan hub, which was originally pencilled in to open this summer, has not yet been disclosed.

Coun Terry Halliwell, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for housing and welfare, said: “This funding allocation is very welcome and will help us implement some excellent new initiatives in Wigan borough which will impact directly on the frontline.

“We are committed to helping every individual who is at risk of homelessness and the prevention of rough sleeping is a particular priority.

“These very practical measures will have a direct impact on reducing rough sleeping in the borough and we hope they will see tangible results particularly in the run up to winter.”

As well as the hubs, there are plans to expand a ‘no first night out’ service, which targets those at risk of rough sleeping.

Practical support will also be offered to those in emergency accommodation to help them successfully move to permanent accommodation.

The funding will also see the appointment of a new rough sleeping co-ordinator, whose role it will be to ensure that there is a place allocated to each individual placed at risk.

Council officials have also promised to support “diversionary activities” for people placed under threat of homelessness, which should improve their skills base, self-confidence and self-reliance.

They have also pledged to work closely with the voluntary sector, which would include The Brick, as well as the Shelter for Hope and Homeless Support Project in Leigh.

Support staff say that they have been able to prevent more than 5,000 cases of homelessness across the borough over the past 12 months.

The funding for Wigan was part of a £30m national funding pot, with the borough just one of three in Greater Manchester to make a successful bid.

Just last month, Wigan Council launched a Homeless Champions scheme, which will see trained volunteers checking people on the streets daily to get a better understanding of their circumstances and to provide more support.

Post readers who see a homeless person on the streets are being urged to email roughsleep@wigan.gov.uk with as much information as possible, including times and locations.

Earlier this year it was reported that the number of rough sleepers in Wigan had increased by sevenfold.

While there were just six recorded back in 2010, that total had risen to 30 by 2017, according to the Communities Department.