Worcester’s MP Robin Walker has recently officially opened Sir Thomas White Court: a new facility containing 10 new flats in the city for the homeless.
Alongside Worcester Mayor Jabba Riaz, Robin unveiled a plaque and opened new homes in honour of Sir Thomas White. Sir Thomas White was one of the original creators of the Charity with a donation of £104 for the poor in 1582, followed by donations of the same amount every 22 years from his rotary charity. These 10 new flats bring the total up to 37 new units of affordable accommodation created by the charity over the past 5 years.
Since 2013, Worcester Municipal Charities has been pursuing a new investment strategy of providing affordable housing for the single homeless, and since 2015 has been helped by Homes England with grants to create flats “over the shops” and in empty office buildings and six new-build on an office car park.
Housing and infrastructure have been a major focus for the Government throughout this parliament with investment worth £44 billion over the next four years announced at the budget in October. The funding is designed to accelerate the supply of housing and deliver 300,000 new homes a year to open up the housing market so that more people have the chance to own their own home.
Earlier this year Robin hailed the launch of the Worcester Cares strategy which brings together local charities, the Police, City Council, local businesses, church groups and others in a bid to coordinate efforts and provide consistent advice and information to members of the public on what they can do to help get vulnerable people off the streets of Worcester and into safe and stable environments. The strategy focusses on homelessness prevention by targeting support for the vulnerable as early as possible, in order to prevent any deterioration in their personal circumstances that may lead to them having to live on the streets.
Speaking about the opening, Robin said:
“I was delighted to attend the opening ceremony of 10 new affordable flats at Sir Thomas White Court, which have been built on a brownfield site. Worcester Municipal Charities has been doing a great job in the city to provide safe, affordable and secure homes to those who need it most. I have long been an advocate for more housing, and specifically more affordable housing, and was happy to be a part of such a worthwhile cause and ceremony.”
“I am glad to see measures being introduced to help local authorities maximise the use of brownfield sites, as this is something I have always believed should be prioritised before any development on our green belt. We are lucky to be surrounded by such a beautiful natural environment in Worcester, and building the homes we need does not have to come at the cost of damaging our countryside when ex-industrial or commercial space within the city can be repurposed for housing.”
“Worcester Cares has my total support, no single charity or organisation can tackle the complex needs of homeless and vulnerable people alone, which is why a collaborative approach is so important. Letting members of the public know what they can do to help is imperative – constituents frequently contact me asking where and how they can refer rough sleepers to support services, and I am happy that this information is now widely and clearly publicised.”
Notes to editors:
- To read the Government guidance on the empty homes premium, please see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/194389/Empty_home_premium_guidance_-_May.pdf
- For the full data tables on local housing stock, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants
- For details on Robin’s previous empty homes campaign, see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=ca9ca535a453c1e17048cbd1bd88063a
- For details of Robin’s February 2018 statement on affordable housing delivery in Worcester, see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/local-mp-welcomes-funding-to-encourage-affordable-house-building-but-warns-council-must-do-more-to-deliver/
- For more of Robin’s recent statements on housing, see:
- For more information on housing and the Budget see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/752109/Housing_web.pdf
- For more information on Worcester Municipal Charities please see: http://www.wmcharities.org.uk/pdfs/thehistory-a4-12pg-v7-07-2017.pdf