People experiencing homelessness will have somewhere safe and warm to receive support this winter thanks to a £57k grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.
Catching Lives, a day centre for people who are homeless or insecurely housed in Station Road East, Canterbury, is extending its opening hours by six hours a day from January to March 2024.
Tasmin Maitland, Chief Executive of Catching Lives, said: “This year we couldn’t afford to run a winter shelter to provide emergency accommodation, despite seeing more people who are homeless coming to the Centre. We launched a fundraising appeal with the aim of securing and extending our drop-in services throughout the winter. The appeal has been a huge success and we’re really grateful to people for their generosity.
“Alongside our community fundraising, this new grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Lottery Community Fund means that our Day Centre drop-in, which would normally be 9am to 2pm, will remain open until 8pm. People who are homeless or insecurely housed will have a warm, safe space every evening. In these extra hours we’ll provide a basic hot meal, activities, and social connection. It’s somewhere for people to feel safe and less alone during these cold, dark evenings.
Clients at Catching Lives have reacted to the news about the funding. One said: “Having a place to go in the evening when there is nowhere else to go helps me to cope with loneliness [and] depression.” Another said that “Having the small offer of a welcoming and cosy environment, of some warm shelter, some simple food and putting a film on will be a vital aid to building up trust and independence.”
A client who has been sleeping rough added: “If I still find myself without a roof over my head, I shall be able to remain warm until the evening.”
The DCMS and National Lottery Community Fund grant is part of a £76 million package from the Government to charities providing food, shelter and warmth.
Tasmin added: “Thank you to everyone who has supported our Winter Appeal, and to DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund for this vital grant. It continues to be a challenging time for homelessness charities, as we are seeing increasing need while the costs of delivering our services are rising too. This funding has secured both day and evening provision during the winter months, and is making an immediate difference to our service and, most importantly, to people in our community experiencing homelessness.
Stuart Andrew, Minister for Civil Society, said: “Charities and community organisations are on the frontline helping the most vulnerable in society, and we are allocating £100 million in recognition that they are struggling too, as demand and costs both increase.
“Over 800 charities have already been awarded these significant grants, meaning they can continue to help those in need and we will continue to roll out funding at pace.
“This funding comes at a critical time as charities and organisations support more people struggling to heat their homes and access hot meals. Grants worth between £10,000 and £75,000 are being allocated to cover project and core costs, including for premise rent, utilities, staff and volunteers.
David Knott, Chief Executive at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re proud to be distributing Government funding to enable frontline projects in England to support communities facing the impact of the rising cost of living. From the provision of food, shelter and safe spaces, to financial or housing advice, over 800 awards have already been made to critical services that will strengthen communities and improve lives at a challenging time.”