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Homelessness service expands in Northumberland

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Anthony Bell from Karbon Homes (right) joins Andrew Sanders of StopGap Supported Housing, looking over refurbishment plans for the building which will be re-launched with an expanded homelessness service for west Northumberland.

A new partnership has been formed between landlord Karbon Homes and homelessness charity StopGap Supported Housing to help expand its homelessness service in the Tynedale area.

Karbon is investing significantly in the refurbishment and reconfiguration of its existing building on Haugh Lane in Hexham, which was previously let to the Links housing charity.

Now StopGap Supported Housing has agreed a lease with Karbon Homes, enabling it to build on its existing homelessness service in Hexham. At present they have accommodation for seven homeless adults in their Dean St service, the new development will provide accommodation for 13 more.

Andrew Sanders, Chief Executive of StopGap Supported Housing said, “We have been working with Karbon on this development for quite some time and their support has been fantastic. They were really keen to work with us on the planning of the reconfiguration to make sure the end result will allow the provision of a high quality homelessness service.

“Originally the building offered accommodation to nine people in three shared flats. The new service will provide accommodation for 13 people with improved access and facilities to allow us to offer training, housing advice and other services to help people get back on their feet and move on to a home of their own”

Anthony Bell, assistant director of asset management and regeneration at Karbon Homes, said:
“We are very pleased to be investing in this important building in Hexham, and to have reached an agreement with StopGap to significantly expand the service they offer.
“This building has unfortunately stood empty for a period of time now, and it’s good for all concerned to bring it back to life.

“We’ve committed to a pretty significant reconfiguration of the building, to make it fit for purpose for many years to come.”

Main contractor Surgo will be on site for around six months to complete the required construction work.

StopGap Supported Housing is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Andrew Sanders added: “We are still very much needed. Homelessness in West Northumberland has very specific difficulties, particularly around the rural nature of the area and the perception that homelessness and deprivation are urban concerns and not issues that require addressing in a market town like Hexham.

“The high numbers of referrals to our service show this is far from the case. This new development is a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary year.

“Not only do we have Karbon to thank for this much needed development of our service but also The National Lottery Community Fund, also celebrating an anniversary this year, their 25th. The Lottery award of five years funding enable us to take full advantage of this opportunity to expand.”

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