Chichester MP, Gillian Keegan toured the services run by Stonepillow, a local homeless charity, on Friday 14th June.
Gillian was shown around by Hilary Bartle, the charity’s Chief Executive. The two met at the Stonepillow Hub in the centre of Chichester. The space provides a refuge for homeless people where they can access vital services like showers, a washing machine and a bite to eat. There’s also a range of support staff there and a GP. The charity is also working to get a Parole Officer based there to support people that are recently released from prison.
The MP was then taken to Restore, on Terminus Road, that sells everything like clothes, white goods, furniture and bikes. The money raised helps to fund services and their stock is also used to support some of the most vulnerable in our society who may otherwise struggle to get hold of everyday household items.
Gillian’s tour finished at St Joseph’s that provides accommodation for up to 17 people. This service is a lifeline for many people who find themselves homeless. It often provides enough security and breathing space to help people get things back on track.
After her visit, the MP said, ‘Stonepillow provides crucial services for homeless people in Chichester. Very often people become homeless through circumstance and Stonepillow provides a safety net for them in their hour of need. During my visit, I heard about some of the funding pressures and I am working with Hilary to see how we can end homelessness on our streets.’
Hilary said: ‘It is always good to meet up with Gillian and show her around our services. I was so pleased that she was able to talk to our staff, volunteers and clients. It is really important to get the real stories not the CEO sole view of the service. I am very privileged to be the CEO for such an important service and one which is so close to the hearts of and supported by the communities of Chichester, Bognor and Littlehampton. At a time when homelessness is challenging society because it is so visible and more prevalent. It is important that our local MP can spend time with us to understand some of the key issues that homeless clients experience.’
‘We are seeing more homeless people with mental ill health, drug misuse issues, domestic abuse, involvement in the criminal justice system and those who simply just can’t find suitable accommodation which they can afford. Gillian showed her passion and understanding of these issues and wanting to address them with the relevant government departments and we thank her for her continued commitment and support.’