Leighton-Linslade Homeless Shelter to close

Leighton-Linslade residents are saying farewell to the town’s homeless shelter, praising its many years at the frontline of the community.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 5:06 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 5:41 pm

Leighton Linslade Homeless Service, the charity that runs the homeless shelter from the former Black Horse pub, has announced its intention to close the shelter at the end of March.

However, the team will still be at the heart of the community, as they will continue to run its foodbank service and are also looking at new ways to support townsfolk.

James Fairbairn, chairman of trustees, said: “We are very grateful for all the support provided over the years to assist in the important work we have done from local churches, businesses, schools and caring individuals.

The homeless shelter is to close

“We also wish to express appreciation for the support provided by dedicated volunteers whose contribution pre- pandemic was invaluable.

“I would like to express my personal thanks to the hugely dedicated staff, who often went beyond what is required of them to assist our guests and service users. Everyone rose to the challenge during the pandemic.

“We will continue to run Leighton Linslade Community Foodbank, providing support by the community for the community.”

Mr Fairbairn confirmed that because many homeless people have now been provided with accommodation as a result of increased funding from central government, running the shelter was no longer cost effective.

The funding from the government (which is given to local authorities) is anticipated to continue for the foreseeable future, although Mr Fairbairn also pointed out that it won’t stop people from living on the streets. Due to personal reasons, some will not accept help from a charity or local authority.

Charity patron Andrew Selous MP, said: “An enormous thank you goes to the staff and volunteers for everything they have done. Paul Latimer has been absolutely incredible. There have been some amazing success stories and I know of people who were homeless who were able to get a tenancy and find work, and who then came back to volunteer and help at The Black Horse.”

The charity was founded in 2006 and initially provided support and accommodation for homeless people in the area using community facilities, mainly church halls.

Through the support of a local landlord, the charity was able to enhance the services offered by running a shelter from the old Black Horse pub.

A Leighton-Linslade Homeless Service spokesperson added: "Staff have worked tirelessly for the charity and its services have been commended as an example to

others as a beacon of excellence within the homelessness sector. Black Horse House has provided a safe refuge and support for many people who otherwise would have been sleeping rough. The charity has also received support from many volunteers who have helped in many ways."

The Leighton Linslade Homeless Service is looking for a new location for its foodbank. To help, please call Mr Fairbairn on 07887 628118.