2,000 back Prebend’s call to halt closure

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A homeless shelter which faced closure due to lack of funds has amassed the largest number of signatures for a petition in the borough since 2010.

The Prebend Day Care Centre (BeCHaR) collected a total of 2,099 names to hand to the council urging the “Mayor of Bedford Borough to act by supplying appropriate funding to allow BeCHaR to open 365 days a year.”

BeCHaR CEO Ryan Flecknell said: “We’re now solvent to April 2015 but to avert closure we reduced our service to five days a week. We need to resume our 365 day a year service to provide winter shelter.

“We’re asking for £28,000.00 to provide weekend services to March 2015.

“If we remain at reduced days I have no doubt the cost to local authorities and healthcare providers will increase more than the amount we require: costing the taxpayer.”

Bedford Borough Council said: “Our grant funding for BeCHaR in 2014/15 is the same as 2013/14.

“We have also provided funding of £17,054 for one-off projects in 2014/15 with an additional £25,000 grant paid to BeCHaR in emergency funding.

“Our officers have liaised directly to support them achieve a sustainable position.

“We will always fulfil our homelessness duty, working with a range of partners, continuing to ensure services so no-one needs to sleep rough in Bedford Borough.”