Homeless get boost as YMCA faces grim future

Worcester News: TEAMSHIP: Members of the Worcester South Rotary Club and the YMCA at the handover of 11 sleeping bags, from the left, Terry Weaver, Ben Singleton, Godfrey Benson, Bethany Hadden, Jamie Maher, Duncan Berry and Leanne Davies. TEAMSHIP: Members of the Worcester South Rotary Club and the YMCA at the handover of 11 sleeping bags, from the left, Terry Weaver, Ben Singleton, Godfrey Benson, Bethany Hadden, Jamie Maher, Duncan Berry and Leanne Davies.

THE people of Worcester are doing their bit to support a vital homelessness service facing an uncertain future.

Volunteers from Worcester South Rotary Club have used some of the funds they have raised this year to provide 11 much-needed sleeping bags to Worcester YMCA, in Henwick Road, St John’s.

The donation will help the organisation provide shelter to those in need and is particularly timely with question marks over the YMCA’s financial future due to looming council cuts.

As we have reported, a petition fighting for the future of the 85-bed YMCA has been launched in response to Worcestershire County Council proposals to cut its £1.8 million annual spend on supported accommodation and housing-related support by 50 per cent.

The YMCA currently receives about £800,000 from the council and it is not yet known how heavily this will be cut.

While head of delivery Geoff Taylor-Smith has ruled out closure, he has warned the service will be unsustainable if cuts are severe.

Godfrey Benson, president of Worcester South Rotary Club, hailed Worcester YMCA as a “vital” service for the city.

“At this time of year there is an increase in the number of young people who find themselves homeless and in need of accommodation and rehabilitation,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be able to help the YMCA provide a little warmth and protection for its clients.” Worcestershire County Council is working with housing associations and district councils to reduce the impact of any reductions.

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