9 self contained flats for young homeless in Wisbech

Hostel in wisbech gets new lease of life

Cllr Dave Patrick says he's delighted his campaign to find a new tenant for a boarded up hostel in Wisbech has been successful. - Credit: Archant

Ward councillor Dave Patrick says he’s delighted a former hostel – owned by Fenland Council that has stood empty for three years – has a new lease of life. 

Fenland Council has offered a lease for the hostel on Kirkgate Street, Wisbech, after a 10-year contract with previous provider, Notting Hill Genesis, ended in 2019. 

“I have been campaigning for this for some time and am delighted new owners will take it on,” said Cllr Patrick. 

The building is being leased to social enterprise Cornerstone Place which will carry out work to convert the building into nine self-contained apartments.  

Work is expected to start in April and will be completed by the end of 2022. 

Once finished, residents will be supported by YMCA Trinity Group - a local charity that helps young people. 

The charity offers supported and emergency housing for people across eight sites and 15 houses, with over 400 rooms available throughout the region. 

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Jonathan Martin, chief executive of YMCA Trinity Group, said: "It's been a long-term goal for us to establish a provision locally. 

“We’re excited to be working with Fenland District Council and Cornerstone Place to rejuvenate a property and give it a new life serving local people.  

“We hope this will be the first of many collaborations with Fenland District Council." 

David Ball, co-founder and director of Cornerstone Place said: "Our aim is to support charities and local authorities to develop land and buildings into homes for people who would otherwise be on the streets.  

“This project will provide 3,285 homeless bed nights per year for many years to come, and every one of those nights means that someone has a roof over their head in safety whereas otherwise they might be at risk." 

YMCA Trinity Group supports around 10,000 young and vulnerable people annually, in communities across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.  

Last September the council said it has been trying to secure another provider with the skills and experience to run the service, which ran from the 1990s.  

Cllr Patrick said litter, from cigarette butts to PPE, have been strewn around the building which used to house up to nine tenants.  

FDC said it did investigate the use of the hostel during the pandemic, but were unable to do so.  

The spokesperson said it was not a practical solution given the urgency of the ‘Everyone In’ directive, the refurbishment needed and the management and support arrangements and agreements that would have been needed.