Plans to provide a bigger helping hand to homeless

A MORPETH-BASED charity is aiming to help more young adults without a home, with expansion plans now underway.

Dozens of people aged between 16 and 24 in Northumberland are officially recorded as homeless, but there are many others who move from place to place that go undetected.

Some of them have suffered from mental health problems, relationship issues or substance misuse.

On World Homeless Day, staff at Barnabas Safe and Sound highlighted the support it provides and what it hopes to achieve in the coming months and years.

In 2012/13, the organisation provided shelter and a bed for 12 young homeless people with an immediate housing crisis in its Safe Space Crash Pad above its offices at Wellwood House, Dark Lane.

It also worked with 23 young people in its 12 accommodation units in Morpeth, Pegswood and Ashington – those who need help but are not in an emergency situation.

Fund-raising officer at Barnabas, Louise Metcalfe, said: “We help them get any benefits they are entitled to, build up their confidence through volunteer work and put on sessions to develop their independent living skills and their creative side.

“The ultimate aim is to get them into work or training and we’ll then help them move to their next tenancy.

“Last year, we had 14 referrals from the county council for the two beds at the crash pad and 58 for the 12 beds in our supported housing project, so we want to increase our provision.

“We now have an extra bed in the crash pad and we’re aiming to have four more beds in the supported units.

“We’re also looking to create more youth space through redeveloping redundant workshops to the rear of our building.”