Julian Smith MP officially reopens Skipton’s temporary accommodation
Skipton & Ripon MP Julian Smith has officially reopened Craven District Council’s temporary accommodation in Skipton after a £750,000 refurbishment.
The building has been transformed, from 11 units of accommodation with shared bathroom facilities, to nine self-contained, modern, comfortable flats, including a disabled-friendly unit.
The work was carried out in partnership with Homes England, who contributed a grant of £372,394 towards the works, with the remainder met by Craven District Council from a combination of New Homes Bonus and commuted sums.
Julian Smith MP cut the ribbon and went on a tour of the facilities, speaking to residents and staff.
He said: “It’s been fantastic to visit the flats and to see the transformation from the last time I came here. It’s great that the council and Homes England have made this transformation and I’ll support it in any way I can.”
The redesign also includes an office which means staff can work on site and deliver better support, and a training room which will be used by other agencies to deliver services such as tenancy support sessions, debt and budgeting advice, and sexual health advice.
Councillor Richard Foster, Leader of Craven District Council, said: “We are delighted to achieve our goal of refurbishing and improving this accommodation, improving the services we offer to Craven’s residents.
“I’m particularly pleased that we have been able to provide a disabled adapted unit, as previously the building was unsuitable for disabled residents, who had to be placed in B&B accommodation.
“The reopening is very timely as we have seen an increased demand on the homelessness service with numbers increased by almost 20 per cent this year. Since opening in September the building has had nearly 100 per cent occupancy so it is clearly providing a vital service to the most vulnerable and in need.
“The Council is committed to tackling homelessness and is working with partners to provide improved support and intervention services for rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping rough.”
Councillor Wendy Hull, chairman of Craven District Council, said: “Hearing stories from individuals here is really a wake-up call to us all about how easily lives can go wrong. Without these teams of staff here to provide this support and get people back on their feet, these stories could end in greater tragedy.”
Karen Anderson, Specialist, Homes England, said: “I am really pleased to see this crucial accommodation open in Skipton.
“Homes England is really keen to help tackle homelessness, an issue in our market towns as well as large conurbations. This development will make such a positive difference to people’s lives. Well done to everyone involved.”