7 Queen Street
Hope for the Homeless came about in February 2008 after an awareness event held in Bideford St. Mary’s. This took the form of a typical “diner’s lunch” and was attended by over 60 people from all walks of life including many different organisations and agencies, and several homeless people. By the end of the event there was a groundswell of feeling that something had to be done about the problem in Bideford.
During February 2008 there were 20 people counted as homeless or without a place to stay! They came from all ages, male and female and for a huge range of different reasons. One particularly moving instance was of a young girl of about 18 or 19 who had been abused by her father and therefore couldn’t return home. Because she had no address she was unable to get a job and so the vicious cycle of poverty and homelessness continued. She told us that what she needed more than anything was a place to go during the daytime, somewhere she could wash, change clothes, have a meal, talk to people and generally find help.
“Hope for the Homeless” was subsequently set up and after a number of meetings, visits to the “Freedom Centre” in Barnstaple, “St Petrock’s” in Exeter and the “Shekinah Mission” in Plymouth and contact with a range of interested organisations it was decided that the core need in Bideford was for a Day Centre, offering food, shelter, support and access to information and other relevant agencies.
It needed to be a place of change to help those on the margins of society to turn their lives around.
After a major launch in July 2008, attended by the local MP, Councillors from Devon, Torridge and Bideford a steering group was set up to assess the feasibility of our ideas and to push the plan forward. This group completed it’s work in April 2009.
Where we are now.
We completed the process of becoming a Charity called 'Harbour-Bideford' in March 2010. Subsequent developments can be seen elsewhere on this website. The premises at Queen Street opened on 1st March. As well as the services provided then, several improvements have occurred and we are moving into facilitating life skills training as 'added value' for the project and a contribution to enabling our beneficiaries to 'turn around' their lives. Our focus in this and other plans is a sense of partnership with other agencies for the benefit of those whom we aim to assist. Harbour represents a place
of safety, a place of replenishment and a place from which to set forth with renewed confidence.