New accommodation to take homeless off streets

Willmott Dixon has teamed up with students from Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (GB MET) to create 29 units providing temporary accommodation for homeless people at St Patrick’s Church in Hove.

The company is mid-way through a project to redevelop GB MET’s Pelham Street site by extending an existing tower block to provide the new Centre for Creative and Digital Industries.

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Alongside this work, a number of its management trainees joined forces with college students to refurbish St Patrick’s Church on Cambridge Road over an eight week period to create a safe environment for some of the town’s most vulnerable people.

As well as creating a welcoming place for homeless people to stay, the project gave students studying construction and trades courses at the college valuable ‘hands-on’ experience of building work.

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The team were assisted by generous donations of materials from Willmott Dixon’s supply chain partners who also provided assistance for the more technical elements with the students.

Willmott Dixon managing director Roger Forsdyke:

“Our company ethos is that we have a purpose beyond profit and this has been such a rewarding project to be involved in. All my team are proud to have created a facility that will be a safe place for homeless people in Brighton to stay, especially in these tough times where we are dealing with the impact of Covid-19. It would not have been possible without the support of key supply chain, in particular Mitie who provided the M&E support with a large donation of materials and technical supervision, plus Everest Miles with materials and labour for the decorations and Global Ceramics to complete the tiling.”

St Patrick’s Church is run by YMCA DownsLink Group and the Churches Night Shelter Project. Chas Walker, CEO of YMCA Downslink Group, said, “We’re delighted to have worked with Willmott Dixon on this project, which will directly impact the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our community. I was also delighted that students from GB MET were involved, as it demonstrates just how much the whole community cares about homelessness in our city.

“Also, providing materials to complete this refurbishment also has a significant impact on our bottom line which is crucial when budgets are so tight.”

YMCA DownsLink Group and the Churches Night Shelter Project also work with homeless people on opportunities to gain training and qualifications that help towards more permanent work.