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"Our safe space has opened up again, but it's so much better than before."

The day centre open it's doors again this week, with new procedures in place to keep everyone safe and ensure we're supporting those who really need and want our help.

We are currently open only to people who are rough sleeping who have been verified through the council's rough sleeping team (streetlink). Those who are referred and register with us have been enjoying a very new experience in our day centre.

Davie who's been sleeping on the streets of Shrewsbury for over 2 months has really felt the difference he said "It's absolute bliss. Our safe place has opened up again but it's so much better than before. "

"We can catch up on sleep in the calm atmosphere and I don't have to wonder around all day with all my belongings in the cold and rain. I'm also having really useful conversations with people who can help me get off the streets."

The improved provision has seen clients engaging positively with housing, drug and alcohol services and the GP clinic. Long term volunteer Marion says "I like the calm atmosphere, we can have a proper conversation with people and get to know people better."

The newest member of the team is Mark from Clearview Security “This week has been amazing so different to what I expected, I'm loving every moment of being involved and helping out, there have been no problems and all the clients have been very friendly and respectful.”

Chris and Jas from the RESET partnership, who work with people who are roughsleeping or in danger of becoming homeless commented on the "lovely chilled and relaxed atmosphere" saying "it feels like we can devote a lot more time individually to people and are already seeing positive change in the people who use it."

Clients and staff have been enjoying being back together in the day centre after 6 weeks of working from St Chad's Church Hall. Support worker Ursula says "In the 4 years I’ve worked here doing admin and support, I've never felt so positive about the difference we can make to peoples' lives."

"I’m so pleased that after all the effort, training and planning we’ve put in place for the reopening I can really see the difference it’s made in this first week to the clients who’ve come in. They've all joined in creating decorations for our St Chads Christmas tree and have been able to really talk to us without feeling lost in a crowd. "

"We were worried about not being able to help as many people, but the quality of engagement is so much better, it’s like a different organisation and it feels like a much safer “home” for those who need it.”

The Ark team really appreciates the patience and support shown by the local community during the past few months. Changing the way our organisation has run for so many years has been a really challenging process for all involved, but if the first week is anything to go by it has been more than worth it.


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