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'Open to everyone': Cally homeless charity Shelter from the Storm announces Upper Holloway move plans

PUBLISHED: 11:08 14 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 June 2018

Shelter from the Storm wants to move to Upper Holloway. Picture: Shelter from the Storm

Shelter from the Storm wants to move to Upper Holloway. Picture: Shelter from the Storm

Archant

A Cally homeless charity has announced plans to move to Upper Holloway.

Shelter from the Storm needs to relocate, with the lease up at its current shelter off Caledonian Road.

It has applied for planning permission to convert an Upper Holloway supermarket into a shelter, community cafe and small retail unit.

The Gazette has chosen not to share the exact location, respecting Shelter from the Storm’s policy not to make its address public.

The charity does vital work. In the past year, it helped 173 guests into their own homes and 90 into employment.

In January, Islington Council had formally identified 23 rough sleepers in the borough, but the actual number is much higher.

Shelter from the Storm co-founder Sheila Scott told the Gazette: “The homeless figures in London, and in particular Islington, are terrifying. The council budget has been cut to the bone. This is a service we desperately need. It’s about giving people a safety net, and helping them get into stable housing.

“We have identified a good location [accommodating up to 40 guests, similar to its current capacity in the Cally]. We can make it lovely. There is possibly going to be a little bit of anxiety among local people, but we would be very keen to talk to them if that’s the case.”

Of the community cafe, she said: “At the moment, we only have a shelter, which closes in the morning and opens at night. We will continue doing that, but with the community cafe we want to open our services and amenities to local people and be part of the community.”

The cafe, which will be a separate operation to the night shelter, will be open for activities ranging from English classes to using computers. There is also talk of hosting parents and babies groups.

“We have always wanted to be open to everyone,” Sheila continued. “People are people. We are warm, inclusive and open to all.”

Of the charity’s plans to open a small retail unit, Sheila added: “The current supermarket is far too big and has failed as a business. But we don’t want to deprive the community of a shop, so that’s why we want to open a smaller convenience store for people to buy their bread and withdraw their cash.”

Islington Council has yet to set a date to decide the application.

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