Following a successful first year since the launch of Ely’s Community Hub, East Cambridgeshire District Council, supported by Littleport Parish Council and supporting partner organisations are launching their second hub in Littleport on 1st March 2018.
Littleport Community Hub will be open on the first Thursday of every month from 10am until 1pm at Littleport Village Hall. The hub will provide people with support and will cover a range of topics from homelessness, debt and benefits to mental health issues and problems with anti-social behaviour.
The organisations who will be available to talk to include the Community Safety Partnership, Inclusion, Red2Green, Christians Against Poverty, Rainbow Saver Anglia, Sanctuary Housing, CHS Floating Support, Littleport Churches Together and East Cambridgeshire District Council’s housing team.
Tesco in Barhill and Starbucks in Ely have also offered their support by providing food and drink for those who visit the hub. Tesco will supply the hub’s hot meal as well as food staples such as fruit, vegetables and bread, whilst Starbucks will provide coffee and cups.
Councillor Mike Rouse, housing service delivery champion, said: “I am proud that we have been able to build on the success of Ely Community Hub and launch a second hub in Littleport. This is another way that East Cambs tries to support its residents and prevent issues, such as homelessness, before it happens.
“The team at East Cambridgeshire District Council go over and above every day to help residents, whether they are sleeping rough or just need help to manage their money. If you see or know someone who is struggling, tell them to come and see our fantastic team at the hub who will give them the guidance they need.”
Councillor Jo Webber, parish councillor and district councillor for Littleport, said: “As a district councillor I have been able to see the difference Ely’s Community Hub has made and I am very glad that Littleport was chosen to hold the second Hub in the district. By bringing together all these key organisations in one room, we can offer residents a great opportunity to gain instant access to professional advice without leaving the Village. I would encourage anyone who feels that they need assistance on matters such as anti-social behaviour, mediation or homelessness to visit the hub.”
Ely Community Hub opened its doors on 28th February 2017 and has assisted with 1,564 enquiries. The most common reason people visited the hub was for mental health support. With a number of organisations at hand to directly help with mental health, people don’t have to go through a referral process to access advice. These organisations can also help with setting up GP appointments and benefits support to help people get back on track.
Claire*, a frequent user of the Ely community hub, said: “Ely Community Hub is brilliant. I can access a hot meal and a hot drink and there is always someone there to answer my questions and provide an ear. One of the team from the council came with me to set up a bank account and sort all of my benefits. They set to work within the hour of me walking into reception and found me a room in a shared house and also sheltered accommodation.
“People in Ely are very generous. I was making around £50 a day on the streets but the council team worked with me to get me into housing and help get my life back on track.”
Since 2013, East Cambridgeshire District Council has not needed to spend anything on bed and breakfast accommodation due to early intervention; an area that was previously costing the council £1 million per year.
Angela Parmenter, Housing and Community Safety Manager at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “My team search Ely City centre daily looking for any potential rough sleepers and as soon as we see, or a member of the public alerts us to someone, we provide advice, assistance and accommodation, including the offer of temporary accommodation, if required.
“We have an excellent relationship with landlords and have worked hard to be able to secure accommodation for single people, usually within 48 hours of us first meeting the homeless person.
“We are confident that currently we have no genuine rough sleepers in East Cambs however we are aware of people begging in Ely City centre. Unfortunately, we cannot make any individual engage with us or accept any accommodation that has been offered. However, we will always continue to try.
“The residents of East Cambridgeshire are incredibly generous, but we would urge not to give rough sleepers money. Buying them a hot drink or donating to a homeless charity would be very kind.”