Investment in the homeless

Real godsend: Maria Stuchbury, from the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, left; Tom Street, executive director of Investec, centre; and Kevin Bradley, director of St Wilfrid's Centre, second in from the right, with staff and centre users.
Real godsend: Maria Stuchbury, from the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, left; Tom Street, executive director of Investec, centre; and Kevin Bradley, director of St Wilfrid's Centre, second in from the right, with staff and centre users.
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Investment management specialist, Investec Wealth and Investment, is helping homeless and vulnerable adults to get back on their feet by backing a Sheffield centre that helps them to boost their self esteem and gain new skills.

The firm is aiding the St Wilfrid’s Centre, based on Queens Road, by providing equipment for the centre’s woodwork shop through its charitable links with the South Yorkshire Community Foundation.

Speaking after visiting the centre, Investec executive director Tom Street says: “Investec has a highly developed corporate social responsibility policy, originating from the company’s roots in South Africa where they are very involved in helping many of the most underprivileged people in that society. As an extension of that we are delighted to be able to assist with the extremely valuable work being undertaken by St Wilfred’s. Having visited St Wilfrid’s Centre, it is heartening to see the difference which the work has made within our local community.”

St Wilfrid’s organises numeracy and literacy classes, arts sessions, cookery classes, IT skills sessions, a wood workshop and even prints its own newspaper every two months.

Director Kevin Bradley says: “Too much that is done to try and help people does not get to the root cause of the problem. We estimate that 90 per cent of people we see also have mental health problems.

“A condition of people coming to us is that they have to attend the classes that we put on at the centre, to help build their skills and raise self-esteem. I don’t think there’s another centre in England that has as many different courses and classes as we do all under one roof.”

Since its formation 20 years ago, the centre has had 300,000 attendances from homeless and vulnerable people offering practical help and support.

One of the centre’s regular users, Darren Hornsby, said that St Wilfrid’s provided him with a lifeline. He said: “If it wasn’t for this place I would have nothing. I can’t just go out and meet people like others can. There are a lot of other people in my situation. This place is a real godsend.”

St Wilfrid’s is now seeking support from the business community and others for an ambitious project to build a 50-bed residential home for homeless and vulnerable people in the city.