|Issue 11 - March 1973|
is a voluntary organisation which exists to help the homeless and the
needy. For some time the Durham branch has wanted to establish a small
hostel in the city.
After some night research around the city they decided that Durham did not have a vagrancy problem and so concentrated their efforts on setting up a hostel rather than a shelter. The aim of the hostel is to be a therapeutic community where single men who find it difficult to function in society can live for as long as necessary. For example men whose homes had broken up or those discharged from mental hospitals or prisons.
Although the social services, probation and police departments are all in support of the scheme, one of the main stumbling blocks seems to be the city council, through their lack of knowledge of Cyrenian activities and lack of help in finding suitable accommodation. It is 18 months since the Cyrenians first put forward their proposals to the city council, and last week there was a council meeting to discuss the possibility of the Cyrenians using St Catherine's House in Allergate as a hostel.
Apparently local residents object to the hostel on the grounds that it might endanger the nice environment of Allergate. At the council meeting Ald Bell said that 'no matter how good the Cyrenians are, and I believe they have got good intentions, they are an unknown quantity'. Ald Bell also suggested that people who live outside the city could stay in the hostel in order to jump the housing queue.
David Constantine, secretary of Durham Cyrenians, was present at the meeting but was not allowed to explain the Cyrenians' intentions, and was only allowed to speak in answer to direct questions - and thus still remained an unknown quantity. At the meeting no decision was taken as it was decided to have a meeting between the residents, the council and the Cyrenians.
It is important that once the Cyrenians are established in premises not only are they likely to get help from the social services, but are eligible for a grant from the county council from funds made available by the government to assist voluntary groups in this field.
In the meantime David Constantine says 'we hope to open a small hostel for six to eight people within the next fortnight'.
Tyneside Cyrenians are seeking four full-time workers for the next four to eight months to help in running an overnight shelter for homeless single people.
The hostel tries to create a caring atmosphere for those most underprivileged in society. Good humour, stamina and patience desirable. Subsistence allowance payable. Please write to the Secretary, Tyneside Cyrenians, 16 Leazes Park Road, Newcastle 1.