TORRIDGE District Council and Barnstaple Poverty Action Group (BPAG) have secured a combination of charitable and statutory funding for two separate but linked projects that aim to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness in the district. A successful fundi

TORRIDGE District Council and Barnstaple Poverty Action Group (BPAG) have secured a combination of charitable and statutory funding for two separate but linked projects that aim to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness in the district.

A successful funding bid was jointly submitted to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for a one-year rough sleeper project.

The grant will be used to employ a full-time worker for 12 months. BPAG has extensive experience of operating front-line rough sleeper projects and so in close partnership working with the council, will manage and deliver the new project.

BPAG has also been successful in securing funding for a separate substantial three-year rough sleeper project for Torridge and will shortly be going out to recruit for both of these posts, anticipating that they will be filled before the end of October.

Jo Brooks, Housing Options Manager at Torridge District Council, has been working closely with BPAG in the preparation of the grant application to DCLG. She said: "In effect, the funding is both recognition of and a response to the issue of rough sleeping in the district by local and national government."

Commenting on the awards of the funding for rough sleeper work, Phil Davey, Manager of Barnstaple Poverty Action Group, said: "We had been concerned that, in the absence of any accurate or up-to-date information about rough sleeping, it would be extremely difficult to formulate an effective response to the problem.

"After all, you cannot manage and resolve a problem that you are unable to map and measure. We are therefore delighted that the reports carried out by BPAG in the last two years have evidenced the need for the work and led very directly to the successful acquisition of the necessary resources to undertake an intensive and sustained response to the problems of homelessness and rough sleeping in the area.

"The key to the success of both projects is effective partnership working, a partnership that will bring the best from both the voluntary and statutory sectors and we are looking forward to working closely with many agencies as these projects develop".

Councillor Gaye Tabor, Torridge District Council's Lead Member for Homelessness and chairman of the Northern Devon Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), said: "In this time of economic uncertainty I am delighted that the present Government has agreed to support a grant to fund a rough sleeper project to protect and support some of the most vulnerable in our society.

"Torridge District Council has been working to combat homelessness in the district with good results so this will only enhance this ongoing work.