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Funding cuts could call time on homeless charity’s day centre

DENS day centre, Bury Lodge, Queensway.

DENS day centre, Bury Lodge, Queensway.

Dacorum’s premier homelessness charity may be forced to shut the doors on one of its vital services if funding is not found in the next eight weeks.

DENS’ day centre is faced with closure in March as the charity itself suffers a £179,000 funding cut on April 1, meaning it will no longer be able to support the services on offer at the Queensway base.

Chief executive Andrew Liversidge said: “Many people have the misperception that the Day Centre is a glorified soup kitchen.

“This is not the case, as the centre is an important safety net which provides the last beacon of hope for many people to reclaim their lives.

“It is a place of change where people get vital advice, support and training, enabling them to step back on to the road to recovery.”

The blow comes at a time when demand for the charity’s services is at its peak, with 382 people using it in the last year.

In the last two years DENS has also seen a 43 per cent increase in the number of people aged 18 to 25 coming to the organisation.

Mr Liversidge said the charity will continue to operate the Dacorum Foodbank, night shelter, rent aid and other services despite the funding shortfall.

He added: “This level of cuts cannot be sustained by DENS without finding some form of cost-saving. After a lengthy process of consideration, the Board has concluded that they have no other option but to close the day centre on March 28, unless funding is found.”

A reduction in funding from Herts County Council along with the loss of other separate grants, including one from Lloyds TSB, has accounted for the £179,000 shortfall. The charity has recently come to the end of its Big Lottery funding but is due to hear whether it has been successful in another application to the Big Lottery by May.

Call DENS on 01442 800268 or email office@dens.org.uk if your company could offer help to save the facility.

For more on the charity call 01442 262274 or visit dens.org.uk.

 

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