Centre helping needy forced to cut hours and staff

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The Prebend Street Day Centre is being forced to cut its opening hours with staff facing the prospect of redundancy.

A drop in the funding from various sources and re-organisation of a number of Bedford service departments have left the centre with substantial cash flow problems.

Ryan Flecknell, chief executive officer, said: “We are facing the prospect of having to cut vital services and staff - people may think we are just a homeless shelter but we are so much more than that.”

In an exclusive document obtained by the Times and Citizen statistics showing a recent snapshot of ‘visiting service users’ comprised of 138 people attending the centre primarily for food, 52 for ‘medical reasons’, 78 to use ‘washing facilities’, 86 for ‘support’, with 81 listing ‘friendship’ as their main reason.

Mr Flecknell said: “If our support services were cut it would have a knock-on effect as the people we help will become more visible in Bedford.”

Alan Fossey, who attends the centre, told the T&C: “It would cripple me if this place was to disappear.

“I have access to phone my key workers, and medical facilities here. My kids like the fact I come here because it’s a safe haven. It would finish me if it wasn’t here.”