Ferry Project night shelter founder thanks people of Wisbech for generosity as Government grant gives it further boost

PUBLISHED: 10:42 12 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:42 12 May 2014

Ferry Project, Norfolk Street Wisbech. One of the night shelter bedrooms.

Ferry Project, Norfolk Street Wisbech. One of the night shelter bedrooms.

Archant

A £44,000 Government grant will enable an emergency night shelter threatened with closure to stay open until at least the end of next March.

Keith Smith Keith Smith

The Ferry Project’s Norfolk Street night shelter, which was set up three years ago, provides emergency accommodation for more than 150 rough sleepers in Fenland each year.

But its future was put in doubt when its Government subsidies ran out in March.

An appeal launched to keep it open until Christmas raised £51,000 in six weeks, with donations including £15,000 from individuals and groups, £5,000 from Fenland District Council, £7,000 in grant funding and £24,000 from the Elizabeth Wright charity.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins announced he was moved by the ‘exceptional case’ of Ferry Project’s night shelter, which has set up printing business Ferry Print to help it become self-sustainable for future years.

Keith Smith, director of Ferry Project, said: “I would personally like to thank everyone who has given to this important cause. The night shelter is a vital service that helps homeless people begin their journey back to independence.

“Without the support of the local community, over 150 people a year would be sleeping rough in the Wisbech area.

“Time and again, we see the national press try and run down this great town. I have never been more proud to live here. In a time of economic hardship, the Wisbech community rallied around and showed the world that we are a town that looks after one another, that gets things done. Thank you.”

Mr Hopkins said: “Clearly the night shelter is an important local resource which has done much to help rough sleepers and I do hope that local partners can continue to work positively together to ensure its long-term future.”

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