THE MANAGER of a day centre for the city’s homeless has made a desperate plea for donations after it was forced close its doors on Fridays and Saturdays.
Maggs Day Centre on Deansway had been open seven days a week to provide rough sleepers with food, a change of clothes and advice and support.
But after a dramatic fall in public donations, manager Mel Kirk said they had been left with no option but to shut down for two days from Saturday (March 1) or risk closing completely.
Miss Kirk, who has been working at the centre for ten years, said it was a sad moment for the organisation, which has also reduced its opening times by an hour to between 8am and 12.45pm.
“We only rely on grant making trusts and public donations, but as we had such a huge deficit this financial year we could not carry on opening seven days a week,” she said.
“If that deficit continued then it is likely in about six or eight months time we would have to close the organisation down, so we have had to make this decision to ensure that we still have a service that is available.
“The amount of rough sleepers is up across the country and the situation is no different in Worcester, so this is not a decision which has been taken lightly.”
Miss Kirk said the Maggs’ Clothing Project and the activity centre will not been affected, while 12 churches across Worcestershire have come together to help distribute sandwiches outside the centre on Saturday, between 1pm and 1.30pm, to help minimise the impact.
However, the 37-year-old said they are determined to return to seven days a week and she has urged the people of Worcester to help the centre raise the extra £28,000 needed.
“We are now trying to get as much money as possible and as soon as possible, so we can open again for those extra two days,” Miss Kirk said.
“Our first priority will be to return the Saturday, but I would obviously like to get two extra days back again because homeless people need us.
“The worst weather for rough sleepers is rain because once you are wet that’s it and it has been particularly bad over the past weeks and months, so I would just urge people to help us.”
People can make a donation by visiting the centre or by sending a cheque to 7 Copenhagen Street, Worcester, WR1 2HB. Cheques should be made payable to the Maggs Day Centre. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org