A COMMUNITY group has received thousands of pounds worth of National Lottery funding to help them continue to provide support for the homeless.

The Homeless Hub by Neighbourhood Welfare in Middlesbrough has been awarded £48,200 to offer people a lifeline, providing a café and facilities such as showers for beneficiaries to take care of their hygiene needs.

The project boasts a volunteer barber who plays a role in helping male clients feel like themselves again.

Neighbourhood Welfare works with police, homeless officers, custody officers and hostels to ensure people get the help they need.

The group was amongst 95 worthwhile projects competing across the UK for a share of £3m worth of funding.

Other beneficiaries were Doxford Community Connectors by The Box Youth Project in Sunderland, which received £45,479 to reduce social isolation and support independent living among elderly residents of South Sunderland and residents with physical and learning disabilities.

Family Chances by Northumberland Community Enterprise Ltd in Stobhill received £49,880 for a project to fight exclusion and marginalisation within the community of Stobhill.

Susan Gill, who runs the café, said: “I am absolutely over the moon, I can’t thank the people who voted for us enough.

"We have received so much support from the general public, from community centres and other local organisations.

"This is the first of its kind in Cleveland, and I feel that every town could benefit from having a place like this for homeless people to come. We wanted to be full-time for anyone who needed our services, as we all do it as volunteers.

"With the funding we will build public toilets and showers for people’s basic needs; washing, brushing their teeth, shaving and so on. We will also create a purpose-built office so our clients can have one-to-one meetings, and the front of our café will be turned into a charity shop, which will in turn fund the café which serves hot food and drinks to those who really need it.”

Joe Ferns, UK funding director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The People’s Projects highlights the fantastic things communities are doing across the UK to enable people to thrive.

"In every village, town and city, local groups are working together to turn great ideas into reality and deliver the change people want to see in their area.

“We’re really excited to see this year’s winners use National Lottery funding to strengthen their local community and support people to lead happier and healthier lives.”

The People’s Projects has awarded about £45m to more than 1,000 good causes across the UK since it started in 2005.

For more information, visit www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk.