DENS plea for help to avoid day centre crisis

DENS day centre manager Wade Dingle with South West Herts MP David Gauke.
DENS day centre manager Wade Dingle with South West Herts MP David Gauke.

Dacorum’s two MPs have spoken out in praise of the borough’s homelessness organisation DENS as the charity rallies support to help save its day centre from closure.

The Gazette reported last week that one of DENS’ vital services – the day shelter in Queensway, Hemel Hempstead – will close its doors to the growing number of homeless people in the borough if it fails to fill the £179,000 funding gap created as several grants run dry or are cut back by April.

MP for South West Herts David Gauke was at the day centre on Friday to see the valuable services, including advice and sanctuary, it offers to those in need. He said: “DENS provides a holistic approach to helping people reclaim their lives which I totally endorse.”

His Hemel Hempstead counterpart Mike Penning also said: “The day centre provides a range of much-need support to local homeless people, giving guidance and advice in helping people get back on their feet. I support the Day Centre 100 per cent – it would be a real loss if it were forced to close.”

The centre requires £120,000 per year to be maintained. DENS chief executive Andrew Liversidge said: “DENS is doing everything in its power to avert this crisis and has been successful in going through to the second stage of Big Lottery which would grant £100,00 per annum for the next three years, but we are not due to hear the result until April or May and are urgently looking for £20,000 to keep it open until then.

“This would be good because it will also help in the region of 170 people who would visit the centre 600 times during two of the coldest months of the year.”

Other vital DENS services including the night shelter and Dacorum Foodbank continue to operate. If you can help through volunteering or donating money or gifts in kind, email or call 01442 262274.