St Wilfrid's Centre sSt Wilfrid’s Centre for the homeless and vulnerable in Sheffield recently celebrated a great milestone with the announcement of having raised over £1m towards the target of £1.8m to build a residential unit to work in conjunction with the day centre.

The fundraising appeal was launched in March 2013 and Director, Kevin Bradley said, “At the time people were a little bit sceptical and at first gave me strange looks when I said we had to raise £1.8m.  The financial climate was the worst it could be.  However, I can honestly say that I have not lost a minute’s sleep about raising the money and sincerely believe that when the hand of God is behind a snowball then no man on earth is going to stop it rolling.”

The idea of the residential has caught the imagination of people throughout the country and Kevin was even invited to speak at the House of Commons to outline the project.  The idea is to house people for up to two years and during that time the clients would take part in classes at the adjacent day centre to improve their social, independence and employable skills.  Courses at the Centre are delivered in cookery, numeracy, literacy, computing and workshop activities.  During the final months of their tenancy at the residential clients would be helped to move into council or housing association accommodation and given outreach support.

Kevin added, “At the moment there is not enough support available in many cases to help them sustain their tenancy.  People often move into an empty flat with no furniture and no money and many suffer from mental health problems.  After a couple of weeks they start to panic when bills come through the door, which they may not be able to read.  They get frightened and run away, drifting from town to town.  This helps perpetuate the problem of homelessness and is replicated throughout the country.  If we can help people in this way, the problem could be drastically reduced.”

St Wilfrid’s has received a great deal of media attention recently and past appearances on Secret Millionaire and People’s Millions have been followed by a cameo performance on Sports Relief in March 2014.  The programme for Sports Relief broadcast on BBC1 portrayed the Centre in a very favourable light as ‘Made in Chelsea’ celebrity, Jamie Laing visited.

Many celebrities have pledged their allegiance, the latest being actor Dominic West who agreed to become an Ambassador.

The ex Sheffield United and England international footballer, Tony Currie continues his valued support.  Many celebrities are involved with the Centre, the latest being snooker star Ken Doherty, who visited while competing at the world championship snooker finals in Sheffield.

Kevin continued, “It is amazing that we have raised over £1m but we still have a way to go.  I am extremely grateful to all who have contributed to the fund, however big or small, to the individual giver, the company or charitable trust.  Everyone is appreciated and they are all part of St Wilfrid’s.  Why not help us show the rest of the country what can be done for homeless and vulnerable people without government funds.  Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.”

Anyone interested in donating to the St Wilfrid’s residential project, please contact Kevin on 0114 2555720 or email him on kevin.bradley@stwilfridscentre.org.