Turning over a new leaf

THE Friends of Factory Row have opened a new chapter in their fundraising.

For the last few months a charity bookstall in Torquay Market has raised over £500.

Shoppers in the market are invited to make a donation for every book they take.

Nick Pannell, chairman of the Friends, said: “People have been so generous in both donating books to the stall and the money they have dropped in our collection tin.

“There has been a spike in homelessness in recent months and the Leonard Stocks centre is working with other agencies to get people off the streets and into accommodation where complex needs can be addressed.

Steve Holgate, owner of Torquay Market, said he was delighted to support the Friends of Factory Row. Stall holders in the market have been helping to manage it.

Steve said: “The hostel does great work, getting homeless people off the streets which benefits them and town centre businesses.”

Bring us your best-sellers and let’s keep the bookstall well stocked.

MP guest speaker at our AGM

The Friends annual meeting is being held on November 11 in Room 1, Central Church, Morgan Avenue, Torquay at 2.30pm.

Our guest speaker will be Torbay MP Kevin Foster who has taken a keen interest in homelessness issues since his election.

We will update you on another successful year for the Friends and the hostel. Non-members are welcome to come and hear how the community and services are working together to counter a growing crisis on our streets.

We look forward to seeing you. Refreshments will be served.

New threat to the hostel’s future?

At the time of going to press there are rumours circulating that Torbay Council intends to close the hostel by buying it and turning it into student accommodation.

Whether there is any truth to these rumours is unclear.

What we can be clear about is the Friends’ total opposition to such plans unless an identical provision is provided somewhere else which is accessible to homeless people.

Chairman of the Friends Nick Pannell said: “We will not collude in social cleansing. The hostel has been in Factory Row since 1991, re-built with £2m of public money in 2005 and now houses 32 residents. It does amazing work helping people back into stable accommodation.

“There is an agenda running among some senior members of Torbay Council to have it closed because they (wrongly) blame its presence for the decline of Torquay town centre.”

“We understand residents concern about the number of rough sleepers, begging and other anti-social behaviour in the town but the hostel is the solution, not the cause”

“Please be alert to this challenge to the hostel’s future.”

News from the hostel

“We have had a great few months and seen the hostel move from strength to strength. There is endless demand for spaces and we are struggling to house everyone we want to. The good news is that our move-on rate is through the roof as residents, supported by our staff, find their own accommodation.”

Through the Torbay End Street Homelessness campaign we have created a 6-bed “safe space” which people can access straight from the street without any rental or local connection issues.

“We also now have a move-on house. Among those living there is Bev (name has been changed). She has done remarkably well. She feels if it wasn't for the support she has from us she would not be alive.

She was on the streets for over 10 years with a chronic alcohol issue. To break this pattern of behaviour was amazing. We could never be this successful without the support of the Friends of Factory of Row.”

Danny Crowley


Caroline’s run for the homeless

SUPPORTERS raise money for the Friends in many ways.

Caroline James enjoys running and wanted to set herself a challenge so decided to run this year’s Torbay Half Marathon to help our work.

By the time she crossed the finishing line after 13 exhausting miles she had raised £743.

Caroline said: “I chose the Friends of Factory Row because I wanted to raise money for a local charity and was aware of all the great work that the Friends of Factory Row does supporting the homeless in Torbay. In these times of austerity, when funding to social care and support services are being continually cut, there is a significant increase in the number of rough sleepers on our streets. “

Most wanted

Thank you for all the donated food. Tins that can be made into a simple meal (like ravioli) are always needed. Long life milk, sugar, tea and coffee. Pasta, sauce mix. The simpler the better! We are always in need of mugs, plates, cutlery and towels. If you have clothes to donate please pass them to the MASH charity shop in Tor Hill Road, Torquay. We direct our residents there if they are short of clothing.

Final thought:

“Be strong and courageous. Don't fear or tremble before them, because the Lord your God will be the one who keeps on walking with you—he won't leave you or abandon you."

Deuteronomy 31:6