A BUSY Bideford charity that is already dealing with around 200 people in need each month, is anticipating even more pressure on its resources as the credit crunch and rising household bills bite. The Store Homelessness Project managed by Joe Buckingham,

A BUSY Bideford charity that is already dealing with around 200 people in need each month, is anticipating even more pressure on its resources as the credit crunch and rising household bills bite.The Store Homelessness Project managed by Joe Buckingham, is a small charity which aims to provide help and some security for people who have fallen through the established support network.Set up three years ago, the charity was developed from an outreach project of the former Storehouse Church and remains as a Christian-based initiative.Its members are already stretched and although the project has use of premises at the top of Pitt Lane in Bideford, a bigger home is essential if it is to keep pace with demand and expand its services.The project provides essential items such as furniture, clothes, blankets and household goods and volunteers are about to man a Sunday night van, handing out food in a town car park. The Store is also involved with other local organisations in homeless awareness lunches provided at St Mary's Parish Church, working towards the provision of drop-in meal facilities in the town.At one time the project provided 60-70 food parcels a week to needy people, but this service had to be suspended until they could find suitable premises, said Joe.The Store also befriends and provides a contact point for people to be signposted to other support agencies and organisations, dealing with issues such as housing, debt, drugs and alcohol.Volunteers provide transport to hospitals, help with removals and give helping hands in a variety of other ways.Their clients include people with addictions, the result of broken homes, single mums, families, the elderly and others who find themselves in need of help in difficult circumstances. The term "homeless" also included those who might not be literally "on the streets" but were constantly on the move, spending their lives sleeping on the sofas or the floors of friends' homes, said Joe. The Store volunteers were doing as much as they could under the present circumstances, but badly needed to find new and bigger premises and to expand in the future, he said.Along with other local groups, the aim was to set up a day centre, where homeless, needy and lonely people could drop in for company and a meal and where they could also have washing facilities for themselves and their laundry. They also needed somewhere to store and display furniture to give to people setting up home and, hopefully, to establish a fund-raising shop.But first they needed to find premises available to rent and would be pleased to hear from anyone who might have anything available, said Joe.The Store can be contacted on 07815 025239.