Leigh homelessness hub opening delays

The building once used as Leigh Magistrates' Court
The building once used as Leigh Magistrates' Court

Work is yet to be completed on Leigh’s promised homeless hub - despite rough sleepers facing the coldest week of the year.

An opening date is yet to be fixed for the Wigan Council joint venture, which is to be based in the former Leigh Magistrates' Court building on Chapel Street.

But town hall chiefs insist they are working closely with all agencies in the town to combat homelessness.

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Announced at the end of November, the Leigh hub was supposed to be operational at the end of January but conversion works appear to have over-run.

Homeless services have come under scrutiny in the town since the death of Chris Conlin last November after he collapsed in Bradshawgate and later died. Council officials defended their record and stressed that they were recruiting outreach workers to tackle the issue.

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Unveiling the hub plans, Coun Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for housing and welfare, said: “Over the last four years, the number of prevented homelessness cases increased by 59 per cent and last year alone, almost 5,000 potential homeless cases were prevented.

“We have also made significant investments to help support homeless services through The Deal for Communities Investment Fund and will continue to work with providers to deliver a cohesive approach so services can work together to better understand peoples circumstances and their requirements.”

The Atherton and Leigh Shelter for Hope, which has operated from different venues locally since 2015, and the Homeless Support Project (HSP), are understood to have been offered a base at the hub, which it is said will offer a number of emergency access beds.

A Wigan Council spokesman said: “We are continuing to work on the conversion of the Leigh Court House building into the homeless hub and we will keep everyone updated on an official opening date.

“All partners involved have already starting working together to ensure individuals get the appropriate support.

“Co-ordinated working with all agencies in Leigh has ensured a much stronger and earlier response to addressing homeless issues in the town.”

Another hub in Wigan is also set to be established this summer. The HSP charity in Leigh, which is based in Railway Road, has continued to offer hot meals to the homeless.