Visit to The Wirral Ark.
I had a fascinating visit to a very successful project in Wirral. They run a direct access hostel which can take 21 males and 4 females. They also provide supported accommodation and I had the pleasure of visiting "The Grand Trunk". A converted pub with office base and 6 studio flats above. The staff I met had taken a lot of time to read through my business plan, financials and website.
They had a lot of very helpful advice and ideas. They have also kindly offered to support me from afar! The staff employed at the Wirral Ark are truly inspirational. What these guys don’t know about homelessness isn’t worth knowing! I had in my mind a set way of how my project would look, but since my visit I have been deep in thought about the changes I can, and should, make for the better.
I met with David Harrison who is s a housing manager at the grand trunk. It was a really lovely place. So homely, light and airy. There was client’s art work hanging on the wall and hanging baskets outside. They initially struggled with opposition from the local community as I have, however they worked hard to work with the community to include them. I learned a lot through listening to the creativity in addressing these issues. Now they have members of the local community who initially opposed the idea volunteering!
I was so surprised at how much income the project raised themselves in fundraising. This has inspired me to look within myself to raise funds to get TTC up and running.
Their next mission is the coast to coast bike ride made up of their staff and service users. I have been invited along! I’ll certainly be there to wave them off, but as optimistic as I am, Id struggle to bike around the park never mind 120 miles!! Along with raising money for their project and raising awareness of homelessness, Dave told me about the main benefits to the service users. Some have never even been out of their home town before. They will all be sleeping, eating and experiencing the journey and the achievements together.
Their passion and determination for their project shines through and is infectious.
They have all been so helpful and gave me a real insight into hostel accommodation. They are all in touch regularly wanting to help out as much as possible. Their experience and knowledge is invaluable to me and will help shape our project here in West Cumbria.