Norwich’s homeless given a new place to stay

Bishop of Norwich Graham James officially opens Dean Alan Webster Court . Lakenfields will provide s

Bishop of Norwich Graham James officially opens Dean Alan Webster Court . Lakenfields will provide semi-independent living for 33 older people who have experienced homelessness. Pictured with Margaret Webster and son John .Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

It has been more than 40 years since the late Alan Webster first opened up his garage as a place for the city's homeless to sleep.

Resident Martin Hopwood who was visited by the Bishop of Norwich Graham James after the official ope

Resident Martin Hopwood who was visited by the Bishop of Norwich Graham James after the official opening of Dean Alan Webster Court . Lakenfields will provide semi-independent living for 33 older people who have experienced homelessness. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

But his legacy to helping Norwich's less fortunate was recognised yesterday after a newly-refurbished £700,000 hostel was named after him.

Webster Court is the latest shelter to be opened by St Martin's Housing Trust and aims to cater for the city's older generation of homeless.

The official opening took place yesterday and was attended by the family of Mr Webster – the former Dean of Norwich Cathedral – who was regarded as a pioneer in helping Norwich's homeless.

The new Lakenham hostel is made up of 34 apartments, each one boasting its own kitchen and bathroom, and it aims to provide semi-independent living for people who have experienced homelessness.


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Derek Player, general manager, said the charity decided to open the home as its other hostels were not suitable for more senior residents.

He explained: 'All of them have had quite challenging lives and have lived in different institutions. We realised that Carrow Hill was not the right place to meet their needs going forward. We now hope that as they reach the last part of their lives they will have settled into the new accommodation and feel part of the local community.'

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The three-year project was made possible thanks to a £250,000 grant from Norfolk County Council and three legacies worth £210,000. The remaining money was collected though various fundraising initiatives held by the charity.

The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said: 'The charity began with the Dean of Norwich more than 40 years ago, just by opening up his garage door for the homeless and it has moved on ever since then.

'It is wonderful to see the way the residents are so grateful for this. One of them said it was a godsend, and I think that it is.'

To find out more about St Martin's Housing Trust call 01603 667706 or visit www.stmartinshousing.org.uk

Comment – Page 28

Have you helped a successful project to tackle homelessness? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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