Homeless made Ferry welcome

PUBLISHED: 13:05 23 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:37 28 May 2010

Chan Abraham prepares to cut the ribbon

Chan Abraham prepares to cut the ribbon

AN exciting future beckons for a Fenland homeless charity, as it opens its first walk-in office, with help from a newly-formed partnership with a housing association. The Ferry Project, which provides emergency accommodation and long-term help for homele

Geoff Cooper

AN exciting future beckons for a Fenland homeless charity, as it opens its first walk-in office, with help from a newly-formed partnership with a housing association. The Ferry Project, which provides emergency accommodation and long-term help for homeless adults in the Fens, officially opened its first walk-in office premises in Norfolk Street, Wisbech, on Friday. The event also marked the start of a partnership with Huntingdon-based Luminus Group, which will expand the company's services into the Fens, as well as help provide the Ferry Project more affordable accommodation. Chan Abraham, Luminus Group chief executive, opened the office building, with representatives from the Ferry Project, Wisbech Churches Together and council dignitaries among those at the official launch. The Rev Neil Gardener also carried out a service of dedication of the building and the Ferry Project.Geoff Cooper, Ferry Project chairman, said: "Every space counts at the Ferry Project, and now people with housing needs can now just pop in to the town's offices to see us. This partnership with Luminus Group will hopefully draw us forwards, and give us a platform to grow more quickly, yet still remain as an independent charity. "We are a young charity, and every new thing we want to do, we need to find the money for it. Luminus Group is part of a massive organisation and wants to acquire property in the Fens. They buy it, rent the accommodation to us at a good rate, allowing us to potentially expand quicker and be able to offer more places for our clients to stay."The project currently has facilities for 60 people in hostels and flats in Wisbech, and has to turn away 200 people a year it cannot find spaces for.Members of Wisbech Churches Together founded it in 1998, when a couple rented a room to a young man in their home.Now, the project has 20 staff and alongside its accommodation service, supports and offers round-the-clock care for homeless people wanting help to get back in society. There are also three social enterprises with a small farm, 'Ferry Project Farming', a furniture project 'Ferry Project Sofa' and a new craft scheme to give residents an opportunity to get involved in the basics of living. Luminus Group owns the Ferry Project office building in Norfolk Street. It rents the office space to the Ferry Project, and the project rents the flats upstairs to four more people. Chan Abraham, Luminus Group Chief Executive, said: "Our organisation has its roots in all the council's housing in Huntingdonshire through its first social landlord HHP. And as we looked into expanding across Cambridgeshire and the East of England, we realised Fenland is an area of housing need.

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