Elmbridge Rentstart opened the borough’s first ‘Winter Hub drop-in’ service in Walton on 24 January 2019. The Hub is open to anyone who is homeless, vulnerably housed or sofa-surfing. It is hosted by Transform Housing & Support and funded by grants from both Elmbridge Borough Council and Walton Charity.

Walton Charity’s Chief Executive said “Sadly, having seen a rise in rough sleeping across the borough, it was very easy to agree to fund this very important and potentially life changing project.”

Councillor Andrew Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Elmbridge Borough Council, said “Elmbridge Council is pleased to support this project as it will help some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our community and as well as meeting their basic needs, we see it as a means of helping them to move off the street for good”.

The Hub is being run and manned by trained Elmbridge Rentstart staff and will provide respite to homeless people for a three-month period during the coldest months of the year. The Hub will be open from 10am until 2pm each day and will offer people a welcome from the cold with refreshments and hot, freshly prepared food. Lack of facilities for personal hygiene are just one of the issues faced by homeless people and the Hub provides access to shower and laundry facilities. There are also areas to relax and watch TV, to use computers or play board games.

Whilst at the ‘Winter Hub’, Elmbridge Rentstart staff will assist them to look for suitable housing. They will also identify entitlement to benefits and assist with any opportunities for training or employment.

The Hub is keen to accept any donations of clothing, and non-perishable foods; it also needs volunteers to help support specially trained members of Elmbridge Rentstart staff.

If you know of anyone in need of this service, or you would like to volunteer or offer donations, please contact Elmbridge Rentstart -telephone: 01372 477167 or email: enquiries @elmbridgerentstart.org.uk