Josie Brooks, Director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, tells us how the plan for St Wilfrid’s Place developed.
St Wilfrid’s Place is a newly built block of twenty self-contained flats with communal facilities on Queens Road next to St Wilfrid’s Centre.
Soon after St Wilfrid’s Centre opened in 1991 our enthusiastic volunteers suggested that we build a place to accommodate homeless, vulnerable and socially-excluded adults. Kevin Bradley championed this idea with the Management Committee over a pint back in 2006.
What followed was making the dream a reality and raising £2million to build somewhere where people with a history of homelessness can live and get support. This has been an incredible achievement in fund-raising fuelled by sheer will-power by everyone involved.
Since joining St Wilfrid’s Centre in July, 2016, I’ve led stage 2 of this project – putting together the partnership with a not-for profit housing association called Great Places, while ensuring that the new-build and grounds are ready for the eager residents. Great Places staff started on 18 September and the first residents moved in at the end of September. Residents will be able to live there – with individual and group support – for up to two years. St Wilfrid’s Centre along with other local agencies will refer prospective residents to the new Residential via a Panel that Louise Finnigan, Welfare Manager, and I will be part of.
This is great news for Sheffield, for other residential projects who can refer to St Wilfrid’s Place and so free-up spaces in their projects for people in need and, most importantly, for vulnerable people in Sheffield needing stability and safety while preparing for their next steps. My thanks to every single supporter of this dream and to the Diocese of Hallam for their guidance and expertise over the past year
We held a Grand Opening of St Wilfrid’s Place on 6 October where major funding organisations, other local charities and local authority representatives met up to celebrate the opening. Kevin Bradley, former Director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, ceremoniously cut the ribbon. We watched a film about the development of St Wilfrid’s Place, looked around one of the flats, heard from new residents and joined a blessing of the building led by Bishop Ralph. Pictured at the opening ceremony are, left to right: Matthew Harrison from Great Places, Josie Brooks, Director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, Kevin Bradley, former Director, Councillor Anne Murphy, Lord Mayor of Sheffield.
On Saturday, 14 October, supporters of St Wilfrid’s Centre and the local community were invited to drop in during an open morning to find out more, meet Great Places staff and to take a look around. Great Places will hold further events throughout the year. From now on, St Wilfrid’s Place will be managed by Great Places.
You may have noticed that we have refreshed our logo. We’ve kept the circle and toned down our famous yellow but we wanted our logo to show people as that is, after all, what we are about.
We have also refreshed our website and made it easier to see what events we have got coming up. For all the details please check out our new website www.stwilfridscentre.org.
Please like and share our facebook page to help spread the news about St Wilfrid’s Centre.
Get in touch if you would like St Wilfrid’s Centre to visit your local group to talk about the work that we do and to show the film that we presented at the Grand Opening – it amazingly crams into five minutes all the wonderful things we do each day!
The development of St Wilfrid’s Place in pictures