AN EMERGENCY hostel which has transformed the lives of hundreds of homeless young people is urgently calling for Sheffield people to get behind its £1 million revamp.
Roundabout runs the Highfields hostel as the only direct-access one of its kind in the region to provide a safe place for 250 people a year to stay.
The charity is about to begin a £1m refurbishment that will create extra room to help more people in need – with about 25 turned away from the hostel each week because it is full – and break the vicious cycle of homelessness.
However, support is needed to plug a £300,000 funding shortfall through fundraising or sponsoring a room.
Project director Ben Keegan said: “We need the help of local groups, associations and businesses to raise money to support our hostel appeal. Despite receiving some funding for the project, we have a £300,000 shortfall that needs to be raised before June 2013.
“We are asking people to come forward to sponsor a room and will invite sponsors to come to the hostel to see how their support will make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people.” The hostel provides a safe place for people aged from 16 to 21 who have nowhere else to go – and more than half of residents last year attended after a family eviction – it is the only direct hostel for young people aged 16 and 17 in the region.
Residents stay for up to six weeks and learn to live independently and tackle problems like substance misuse.
The £1m refurbishment will give the hostel 19 new single bedrooms, kitchens, lounges and a training room.
Hostel resident Paige Atkinson, 17, said: “Being at the hostel has meant I’ve met other people in a similar situation and it has shown me how to live independently.
“I have had counselling and been taught life skills such as cooking and budgeting.
“I’m also taking part in the peer education project, going to schools to talk about my experiences and leaving home.”
Roundabout provides shelter, support and life skills to 150 people in Sheffield a day through a range of services.
n Visit www.roundabout homeless.org