LIFE for the local street homeless has been made more bearable this winter thanks to vital aid from Russell Taylor Group
The company’s financial support has helped to equip newly-refurbished units of accommodation at YMCA Wirral’s emergency overnight triage refuge in Birkenhead where men and women living on the streets are provided with a place of safety and warmth.
Thanking staff for their contribution to the Winter Support Appeal, Nigel Hughes (pictured), YMCA Wirral’s chief executive officer, said their generosity had once again brought “comfort and dignity” to those suffering the hardships of cold nights out on the street.
He said: “Homelessness is still an issue even though a huge amount of work has been done both locally and nationally. However, I do worry that with worsening financial pressures the issue is not going away.
“Ongoing social problems such as the lack of affordable housing and unemployment will continue to impact people’s lives. Men and women can become homeless for a variety of reasons - when they run out of money and cannot afford rents, have to escape abusive relationships, exit the prison system or even leave the armed forces.
“Although homelessness is particularly awful during the winter months, sadly it’s an all-year-round problem too as mental health issues, relationship break-downs, anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug misuse can see people ending up living on the streets.
“Because of your efforts, the men and women staying with us overnight can have some comfort and dignity while also receiving help and support to get them into secure longer-term accommodation.”
Due to coronavirus distancing restrictions, the former night shelter in Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead, which could take up to 15 people overnight, has been converted into five self-contained units with en suite bathrooms and, operating as the new emergency triage refuge, is a place where individuals’ needs and priorities can be assessed.
Russell Taylor Group’s donation has been used to help equip its rooms with new bedding and towels and fit out the kitchen area with a washing machine, tumble dryer and small electrical appliances.
The contribution was part of a £1,000 company-wide gift which saw staff from sister operations Recruit Right and Curtis Painting Group all taking part in various fundraising activities. Match-funding their efforts came from the business’ chief executive Ben Russell.
In previous years, Russell Taylor Group has supported YMCA Wirral by helping to fund new, heavy-duty camp beds for the original 15-space accommodation.
Ben said: “Our staff are always generous in giving their time and their effort to fundraise for good causes. This winter appeal sent a strong message to us all to consider those not as fortunate as ourselves - those for whom loneliness and a cold pavement is maybe all they have.
“We hope our continued support for YMCA Wirral will in some way help to bring comfort to those seeking safety while the rest of us sleep soundly in our own beds at home.”
The emergency refuge operates 365 days a year, providing overnight beds in addition to the 56 bed spaces at its main hostel in Whetstone Lane.