HOMELESS people will be given a chance to take hold of their own future with help from a new £200,000 cash grant.

St Paul’s Hostel in Tallow Hill, Worcester, which has worked with the city’s homeless since 1977, has just been handed a BIG Lottery grant to spend giving clients some useful skills – including a spell in the hostel’s own kitchen.

The cash will help pay for – among other things – a kitchen assistant post for six months.

Sharon van Antwerpen, support and development co-ordinator and deputy manager, said the money would allow the hostel to work with clients “building self-esteem and confidence” through its Life Skills project.

“It allows clients to learn skills so they can stand on their own two feet and move into more independent living,” she said. “The aim of the project is to help homeless people by giving them skills, allowing to meet people and gain some stability “Building self-esteem and confidence reduces social isolation and improves access to education, training and employment.

“And we’ve had a success story as one of our kitchen trainees went on to a job at a top city restaurant, so it does work.”

The clients can learn skills like brick-laying, carpentry, husbandry and horticulture, while the hostel’s kitchen programme provides formal and informal lessons on planning a shop, and buying and preparing food.

The bid was drafted and submitted with help from Peter MacKenzie-Shaw, of the Worcestershire Partnership.

“On seeing this project and the fact it offered potentially great benefits, I set to work on making the application for funding stand out above other areas of the country competing for the same fund.”

Many of the activities are set-up and run with the help of volunteers. Anyone interested in doing their bit for the hostel should email volco@stpaulshost el.co.uk.