Homelessness charity closes its doors after two decades

Scarborough Homeless support closes . Judith Pullen looks to the future. Picture Richard Ponter 141708a
Scarborough Homeless support closes . Judith Pullen looks to the future. Picture Richard Ponter 141708a

A Scarborough charity which has helped thousands of people over 20 years has closed its doors due to a lack of funding.

Scarborough Homeless Support Services in Cross Street has helped provide accommodation, food and even bus or train tickets for people in desperate need of help.

But with manager Judith Pullen set to retire, trustees took the difficult decision to close the charity down as they simply could not afford to keep going.

Judith said: “It’s such a struggle for all charities at the moment. I don’t think we’ll be the only one that goes.

“When I’ve told people the news they’ve been absolutely agog. I hadn’t realised how valued the service was.”

Judith explained that the service was funded in part by a grant from Scarborough Council, plus donations and grants from other sources and fundraising events.

She is keen to point out that the charity’s demise is in no way related to the council funding, which would have continued and was greatly appreciated.

But Judith explained that the additional funding required has become more and more difficult to come by.

The service has cost around £65,000 to £70,000 a year to run, with the charity having to find around £20,000 to £30,000 of that amount itself.

Judith says she is so grateful to everyone who has supported the service, including the Rotary Club, Inner Wheel and Westborough Church, among many others.

She said: “We’ve had such fantastic support and we’ve taken an awful lot of people off the streets and given them a new start, including families and couples.”

Judith has until the end of April to clear the offices and has had to put a sign up in the window directing people to Scarborough Council’s Customer First office if they have a problem with accommodation or are at risk of homelessness.

The council has already held a meeting about parts of the service and how they will be dealt with in the future.

These include Winter Watch and the Reconnection Travel Project, which helps people who are stranded in Scarborough.

Judith has spent countless evenings helping people throughout the winter months, taking food parcels up to the police station and helping people find emergency accommodation. She said: “It has been such an interesting job - I will miss it.”