Media release - issued 02 Jan 2018

Profile on The Vine Centre, in Aldershot, as part of Positive Change campaign.

From practical support such as shower facilities and food to housing advice, job club, counselling and debt advice, The Vine Centre offers a lifeline to anyone who finds themselves in need in Aldershot or Farnborough.

The Centre, which moved to its current premises in Station Road, Aldershot, in 2012, is one of three charities, which will benefit from money raised from the Positive Change campaign.

The campaign, which launched recently, is tackling antisocial behaviour and begging in Aldershot by encouraging people to donate to local charities rather than giving loose change to people begging on the street.

Run by Rushmoor Borough Council and Safer North Hampshire*, the campaign is focused on how people can support long-term change for individuals who may have previously been associated with rough sleeping, and who may continue to socialise, drink and commit antisocial behaviour such as begging.

Although there are very few homeless people locally, the number of people begging is increasing, leading to complaints in the town centre.

The Positive Change campaign is encouraging people to put money into the right hands by donating into collecting tins around the town centres, with all proceeds being split between three Aldershot-based charities - Step by Step, The Society of St James, which runs North Lane Lodge, and The Vine Centre.

Mary Webb, Head of Corporate and Community Liaison at The Vine Centre, said: "We want to serve the community and to assist anyone who is vulnerable, or socially-isolated. Rough sleepers remain one of our key client groups, and a significant amount of our work is supporting them, but our range of services is continually expanding as we discover gaps in the services available to people in need."

Mary Webb added: "We are committed to supporting anyone who is homeless or is threatened with being homeless, and a lot of our work is now in homelessness prevention, as well as helping rough sleepers find a temporary roof and a meal.

"We will never turn anyone away. People can walk through our doors and access our services, but we also want people to refer people to us, so we can help them.

"We receive no statutory funding, but the positive side of that is we have a lot of autonomy and we can become involved in various diverse projects, wherever there is a local need."

The Vine Centre was set up originally as a soup kitchen for the homeless around 30 years ago, and now offers 19 services to its clients, including IT support and training, family support, numeracy and literacy and art therapy, among many others. There are also many groups which meet weekly at the centre - one of the most successful is the "silvers" club for socially isolated over 55s, which meets on a Thursday, and attracts a broad mix of people from across many nationalities.

Mary Webb said: "It is wonderful to see Nepalese, Polish, Moroccan and British people all mingling happily together and finding companionship and friendship."

The centre hosted a Christmas buffet, a full Christmas roast dinner and a Big Breakfast event in the lead-up to Christmas.

Councillor Ken Muschamp, Deputy Leader of Rushmoor Borough Council, and chairman of Safer North Hampshire, said: "The work of The Vine Centre is to be commended, and they are very worthy recipients of the money raised through the Positive Change campaign."

  • If anyone sees someone sleeping rough, they can report it on the StreetLink website, which come directly through to the council's housing team.

Collecting tins are available at the following locations around Aldershot and Farnborough:

  • Princes Hall, Princes Way, Aldershot

  • Rushmoor Borough Council offices, Farnborough Road, Farnborough

  • West End Centre, Queens Road, Aldershot

  • Goldstation Jewellers, Victoria Road, Aldershot

  • NatWest, Wellington Street, Aldershot

  • Bridges Estate Agents, High Street, Aldershot

  • Shree Lucky Jewellers, Victoria Road, Aldershot

For more information on the campaign, visit ourPositive Change campaign page or the Safer North Hampshire website.

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