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Homeless man fears for future
A HOMELESS man, who said a drop-in centre saved his life, now fears for his future after the charity that ran the vital service severed its support.
As The Gazette has previously reported, the future of the Camrose Centre, in Vyne Road, was uncertain after Trinity Winchester announced it would stop running it at the end of June. Three members of staff have been made redundant.
Trinity Winchester has also stopped leasing the building from Hampshire County Council, leaving the drop-in centre, which provides vital support to homeless people, with nowhere to operate from.
Although Basingstoke Voluntary Services has since offered to run a limited service once a week from Glebe House, another permanent base has yet to been found.
Rory Stanswood has relied on the Camrose Centre since he became homeless two-and-a-half years ago.
The 39-year-old was evicted from his home at the time, and has often slept rough on the streets since.
The father-of-four said: “Without this service, I have had it. There’s nowhere else to turn to. I’ll end up with nothing. I have got no support from anywhere else.”
He believes that without the support of the Camrose Centre, people who benefit from its help will be forced to steal food to stay alive.
He added: “Basingstoke police station will become very busy. We have got to live.”
The former drug addict, who uses the Camrose Centre every week, said: “I go to borrow the phone or print out a letter, or just to chat and socialise with people in the same situation.”
Mr Stanswood, who used to be a bricklayer before he broke his back, told The Gazette he is often forced to sleep on the streets, in War Memorial Park or the Holy Ghost Ruins.
He added: “I find a bench or get a blanket and wrap up to keep warm. It’s unpleasant.”
Mr Stanswood said the Camrose Centre offered a lifeline each week, adding: “I’m absolutely disgusted by what’s happened. People who are genuinely homeless are going to be stuck.
“Mentally, more than anything, it’s not having the people to talk to and the support you get. I’m worried for my safety and for some of my friends. People come to the centre because they need this service, and without it they will end up in very shallow graves.”
Trinity Winchester has run the Camrose Centre since January 2008, and since then it has opened two days a week offering food, a shower, laundry facilities and advice.
The charity has told The Gazette it decided to withdraw from managing the centre – which is one of the chosen charities for this year’s Mayor’s Appeal – because it could not afford to do so any longer.