BY YANN TEAR
A hostel for the homeless has officially unveiled 10 new sleeping pods – which offer some privacy for a few of those finding themselves out on the street.
The interlinking structures provide added security to those using them as temporary bedrooms in the emergency shelter.
The Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, formally opened the pods at the 999 Club, Deptford Broadway, on Friday.
The hostel is the Mayor’s charity until 2020. The pods cost up to £700 each and were designed by architects Reed Watts, which was selected in an open design competition.
But Deptford-based firm Aldworth James & Bond created the panels for free, with materials sponsored by a company in Hertford.
The 999 Club is determined to be at the forefront of care for the homeless this winter – having agreed to act as a standby shelter in the event of a big freeze.
The organisation has signed up to a programme where normal rules about eligibility to stay are waived if the thermometer dips below zero.
It has also announced that hundreds of homeless people will have help to get a new start this new year, thanks to £10,000 raised by communities in and around Lewisham.
The money was part of the 999 Club’s fundraising campaign called ‘Spread Christmas Cheer through the year’ – highlighting that homelessness is a devastating experience which happens all year round. The campaign encouraged people to buy a virtual stocking of essential items.
A £15 ‘First Night’ pack covered essential toiletries to start a homeless person on their way to a life away from the streets.
For £25, key items such as new ID and an Oyster card could be provided and £50 donations promised to pay for smart new clothing and shoes to help with job interviews.
As well as the dozens of individuals who generously donated, businesses, schools, community and faith groups organised their own fundraising events for the 999 Club.
The 999 Club also received donations of toiletries, food, warm clothing, sleeping bags and other essential items to help people during the winter months and beyond.
Tim Fallon, chief executive of the 999 Club, said: “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated so generously to support what was our first Christmas fundraising campaign.
This is a time when, sadly, homelessness is a bigger issue than ever, and all the money raised through this campaign will be used to support vulnerable people on their journey off the streets and into more permanent accommodation.”