Mum’s donation to Leighton Buzzard homeless shelter was ‘just when we needed it’

Leighton Linslade Homeless Shelter visited by Andrew Selous MP
Leighton Linslade Homeless Shelter visited by Andrew Selous MP

Dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly to look after Leighton’s homeless during last week’s extreme weather have been praised.

The Black Horse shelter on North Street stayed open continuously from 9am on Wednesday until Saturday, offering help to those with nowhere to go.

Manager Paul Latimer told the LBO that the shelter had been working in partnership with CBC’s severe weather emergency protocol, with two extra emergency beds.

In the event of extra demand, the shelter had arranged for transport to take individuals to the welfar centre in Luton operated by NOAH Enterprise.

Mr Latimer said: “Volunteers are very tired but they have been working non-stop to keep things going.

“A lady came into the shelter with her little boy and she handed over an envelope saying, ‘help these people’.

“She wouldn’t give her name and when we looked inside the envelope, there was £100.”

The following day, the shelter was contacted by Bassett Road Health Centre about a family with a newborn baby who had no gas or electricity.

“I believe that money was there for a reason,” said Mr Latimer. “It was there just when we needed it, we used some to buy gas and babymilk.”

The shelter has no direct funding and relies chiefly on housing benefit from CBC alongside the weekly service charges from users in order to pay its £34,000 annual rent, gas and electricity.

A recent refurbishment was marked with a visit by the shelter’s patron, MP Andrew Selous MP. Donations were given by the Methodist Church and All Saints Church. Some of the residents helped decorate the bedrooms, as well as the downstairs communal areas.

Recently, 19 schools in Leighton Buzzard took part in a ‘mufti day’ and raised an amazing £3,788 for the charity which will be ringfenced for educational purposes and training for residents.