Hostel's 30th Birthday
In December 1991 an old warehouse in Factory Row, Torquay was hastily converted to provide a night shelter for rough sleepers.
It was basic, a single dormitory for 14 men, but it was the start of a mission to help those in need that has lasted 30 years and continues with energy, compassion and generosity.
From those humble beginnings, Christian giving was able to purchase additional buildings in the street which made it possible to demolish the whole terrace and create a purpose-built hostel on the site in 2009 for up to 30 people. Crucially women were able to be accommodated for the first time.
The new hostel was named after one of the founders of the original hostel Leonard Stocks. He was a rich businessman, a Christian with a can-do attitude which helped overcome the inevitable barriers which any new project faces.
When the race was on to get the hostel opened for Christmas, Leonard, a member of St John’s on the harbour, switched the builders from Grade 1 renovation work on the church to do the plumbing and partitioning in the old warehouse.
Brilliant administrator Revd Mike Blunsum worked alongside Leonard to reach the goal.
Thirty years on the hostel remains true to its Christian roots, run by Plymouth-based Shekinah and the Langley House Trust.
And you the Friends have played your part as essential advocates and donors through the years