'Crucial' facilities for homeless to be introduced in Thetford
- Credit: Courtesy of Keystone Development Trust
A community building with a shower, toilet and washing machine will soon become available for those who have found themselves homeless in Thetford.
The Annexe, located outside the Riversdale Centre, on Tanner Street, is being revamped to provide much-needed facilities and a space for the community.
The building, owned by Keystone Development Trust, will include a wet room with a shower and toilet, a washing machine and tumble drier and as a small kitchen - plus a room for hire for community use.
The Annexe building was in need of urgent restoration, including a new roof.
Work is being done by local tradespeople, with the hope of opening in March.
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Keystone chief executive Sarah Carter said it would give many people in Thetford the "dignity" they deserved.
She said: "We have met with several amazing voluntary groups in Thetford who are supplying emergency food and clothing supplies for all manner of families and people without permanent accommodation."
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“When we asked, ‘what is needed the most?’ their response was that people living in these difficult circumstances desperately needed somewhere to shower themselves and wash their clothes.
“During the first COVID-19 lockdown understandably a lot of public toilets were shut so they didn’t have anywhere.
“It’s bad enough sleeping outside anyway, but not being able to have a wash or wash your clothes, where do you go from there? It’s terrible."
Nadine Forde leads Chapter15, which has been supporting people without accommodation.
Ms Forde said there had been few places for people to keep warm during winter.
She said: “To have a place where individuals can have additional amenities to meet basic human needs, central to town, we feel is crucial.
“Without question there is no doubt what the difference a shower and fresh set of clothes can make to a person's general wellbeing."
Funding comes from Norfolk County Council’s Social Infrastructure Fund, Virgin Money Foundation and Norfolk Community Foundation.
Ms Carter added: "I have learnt so much from Nadine, Sharon Thompson and Chris at Thetford's Methodist Church, to name but a few.
“It was their insight into what people needed, who didn't have a home, that kept us all at Keystone driven to find the money to make it happen.”