Team at Leamington shelter 'disappointed' at scrapped move plans

The team at a night shelter in Leamington have expressed their disappointment at the news that their planned moved into new premises has been scrapped.

The LWS Night Shelter, which is currently based at the Priors Club in Tower Street, was due to move into new premises in Packington Place. This was because the currently building they were using was earmarked for demolition and redevelopment.

The team at the LWS Night Shelter have responded to the scrapped move plans. Photos by LWS Night Shelter.

The team at the LWS Night Shelter have responded to the scrapped move plans. Photos by LWS Night Shelter.

However in January it was revealed by Warwick District Council that the planned move would no longer take place after they found the Packington Place building to be 'unsuitable'.

The team at the shelter have now responded to the news with a statement.Their statement said: "As recently reported, plans for us at LWS Night Shelter to relocate to a new site in Leamington have had to be abandoned. LWS had been due to move from its current premises at the old Priors Club, to Packington Place.

"However, during the early stages of the council’s renovation, the new building was found to be unfit for further redevelopment, despite previous indications that the building was structurally sound.

"LWS had been working with Warwick District Council for some time to find and renovate this new building, and we are obviously extremely disappointed at this setback.

"The new site would have given us more space for our increasing number of guests, as well as allowing us to extend our offering and provide much needed shower facilities and better storage – which at the moment, we are unable to do.

"It remains vital that LWS finds a new home in the town as the old Priors Club is only a temporary home and its owners have secured planning permission for it to be redeveloped for an alternative use.

"We hope to continue working with the council and other stakeholders to find a permanent site that meets the long term needs of our local community.

"LWS started in 2016, and was initially intended to offer food and overnight accommodation to homeless and vulnerably-housed communities in the Leamington and Warwick area during a single winter period.

"However, four years later, LWS is not only still operating, but has evolved to become a registered charity - one of a number of key organisations offering support to local homeless and vulnerably-housed individuals in the area.

"Understandably our guests are anxious about the uncertainty surrounding our current premises, but are enthusiastic about the prospect of a new building and are keen to offer their own time and skills in any way they can to make this a reality.

"LWS offers hot food, overnight accommodation, breakfast, and a warm and safe place to stay on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year. Crucially, it also offers companionship and support for its vulnerable guests, who may be facing a variety of struggles –homelessness, unemployment, mental health issues, loneliness, physical ill health, addiction, and other challenges.

"LWS has provided a welcoming haven for some of our community’s most marginalised members, working alongside other organisations in order to help them take positive steps forward.

"As homelessness figures continue to rise nationally and locally, LWS is now helping more people than ever: in 2019, for example, more than 300 different guests visited LWS, with over 140 staying overnight.

"LWS also provides an increasing number of emergency food parcels, clothing and other essential items, typically distributing more than 20 food parcels over the course of a weekend.

"LWS’s success is down to its people – the shelter is organised and run entirely by volunteers. It also relies heavily on donations of funds and provisions from a wonderful range of local supporters; we are immensely grateful to every single person who contributes their time, skills, and resources to make sure LWS keeps its doors open.

"Our supporters have also contributed hugely to our crowdfunding initiative to redevelop a new and permanent building; all the money raised will continue to be used to find and redevelop an appropriate new home, and to securing the long term future of LWS."

To volunteer or to find out more about the night shelter go to: www.lwsnightshelter.org