Grant helps to open doors in Chippenham
8:00am Saturday 18th January 2014 in By Julie Armstrong, Senior reporter
Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner visited a Chippenham drop-in session to see how a £9,000 grant is being put to use.
Angus Macpherson said Doorway, the drop-in centre for homeless and vulnerable adults, was a worthwhile recipient of his Innovation Fund, and said the work it did helped to steer at-risk people away from offending.
Its sessions provide a safe place for adults who may have complex issues affecting their ability to acquire and sustain an accommodation tenancy.
Mr Macpherson spoke to staff, volunteers and about half a dozen service users during his visit last Thursday.
He said: “At least two had served custodial sentences and they had also recognised that they had issues, for instance with alcohol, which were likely to bring them back into custody.
“Another couple had trouble in maintaining a housing tenancy because of drug use.
“These are the very people who can cause harm in our communities and who need to be supported by projects such as Doorway.
“The important thing about these drop-in sessions is that those who attend are able to speak to representatives of support agencies, including the police, who also drop in. It allows other services to be signposted to the users.”
He said it was good to meet and chat to support services manager Kev Long, whose salary has been funded by the PCC grant given last summer.
Doorway’s chief executive Lisa Lewis said: “Kev is responsible for all aspects of running our open access drop-in sessions, including managing the other two support workers, the volunteers and signposting guests to specialist services. His role, therefore, is crucial to the success of our sessions.
“As Angus has been into the session before he knows how we work and he is naturally very empathic to our work. This means that he just comfortably immerses himself into the session and talks to anyone and everyone.”
Doorway operates two drop-in sessions each week from The Salvation Army hall, Foghamshire, on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons.