A Barnstaple couple are opening a weekend drop in centre for the homeless in the town from next month.
The Hideaway in Queen Street will open on Saturday, February 16 to offer a warm and safe free drop in for homeless and vulnerable people and fill a looming gap in weekend provision.
It has been provided by Andy and Tracey Gammon in the premises of their former convenience store M5 Hideaway (the old Loafers premises).
Andy works for a company that provides security for the Safe Sleep winter shelter service set up by North Devon Council and operated at the Freedom Centre.
From speaking to the people who use the service he realised there was very little provision for them during the day at weekends.
He told the Gazette: “The biggest thing they say to me is come the weekend there’s nowhere to go – there’s ample places during the week from various organisations.
“Between themselves they call Sunday ‘suicide Sunday’. The only place they can go is church and if they are not church orientated there’s nowhere for them.”
The Hideaway will be run by volunteers and will offer somewhere to socialise and relax, read or play games, with sofas, a television, books, games, free hot and cold drinks and simply a place to keep off the streets.
Andy said the M5 Hideaway business had not worked out, but he still had the lease on the premises for another two years.
He said: “We decided we had an empty building that was costing me every week anyway, so we thought we could make use of it.
“We are not going to compete with the other organisations, we are literally just going to provide a warm safe place for the homeless to be.”
Volunteers will be crucial to keeping the drop-in running and the couple would like to hear from anyone who would be willing to give some time.
They would also love to hear from any local companies willing to sponsor The Hideaway, whether through donating a sofa, sponsoring the electric use or providing milk supply for a weekend, as well as donations of essentials such as tea, coffee, sugar and squash.
If you would like to help, either with volunteering, donations or sponsorship, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Andy on 07826 522449 or Tracey on 07771 393320.