Chesterfield church buys former guest house for town’s homeless

Project co-ordinator Beth Robson-Smith chats with Danny Newark during a visit back to Hope House.
Project co-ordinator Beth Robson-Smith chats with Danny Newark during a visit back to Hope House.

A former guest house in Birdholme is to become a sanctuary for homeless people after it was bought by a Chesterfield church.

St Thomas’ Church in Brampton bought the former Ponderosa Guest House on Derby Road to support vulnerable people in the town.

Toby Perkins MP, pictured with project co-ordinator Beth Robson-Smith and the Rev. Canon Matthew Barnes during his visit to Hope House on Friday.

Toby Perkins MP, pictured with project co-ordinator Beth Robson-Smith and the Rev. Canon Matthew Barnes during his visit to Hope House on Friday.

When it is up and running, ‘Hope House’ will provide accommodation for up to 12 people, as well as giving them support to turn their lives around.

Project co-ordinator, Beth Robson-Smith, said: “When you get knocked over by the fast pass of society it’s often very difficult to get back up again unless someone gives you a helping hand.

“Especially if you’re wrestling with mental health, drug or alcohol addictions, a criminal history or broken relationships.”

“The Hope House community seeks to be those helping hands.”

This new accommodation service will hopefully provide a vital bridging step.

Toby Perkins MP

As well as providing a safe place to stay, Hope House will also offer clients the opportunity to learn basic life skills such as cooking on a budget.

However, the project is still a long way from completion.

Much work has already been done – but significant fundraising is still needed to complete the near £50,000-worth of work outstanding.

Beth said offers of financial help and practical support from businesses and individuals were very much appreciated. The project received a welcome visit from Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins on Friday, September 15, who praised the church’s ‘positive action’.

Ian Hopkinson who has been a resident at the house for 6 years.

Ian Hopkinson who has been a resident at the house for 6 years.

He said: “This new accommodation service will hopefully provide a vital bridging step that will help people address some of their issues, such as substance misuse or debt, whilst providing a stable and safe place to live.”

n For more information, or to offer practical or financial help, contact Beth at St Thomas’ Church on 01246 279916.

One of the bedrooms awaiting a resident.

One of the bedrooms awaiting a resident.