​New hostel opens in Bognor Regis to help rough sleepers off the streets

Stonepillow, a homelessness charity based in Chichester, has opened a new hostel for rough sleepers in Bognor Regis.

The new hostel, which was officially opened in June by the High Sheriff of Sussex, provides accommodation for local rough sleepers. The building replaces their old hostel which had become unfit for purpose due to multiple problems. The new building will eradicate the previous issue of over-crowding, noise, damp and a lack of security.

The new hostel provides a modern, light and safe environment for people to take their first steps off the streets. It will replace the existing hostel which sleeps 10 in small dormitory-style rooms and increase the number of people it can support to 16 in individual en-suite rooms. The hostel is predicted to serve around 450 people per year, providing them with accommodation and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives too. Support with drug and alcohol issues, employment and education is now available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Hilary Bartle, Stonepillow Chief Executive, said: “Homelessness has increased in the area over the last few years through changes in benefits systems and the pressures on the affordability and availability of housing. Many of our clients have complex needs and our new hostel will vastly improve the lives of those who have been sleeping rough in the area and help them on their journey to improving their lives and becoming independent.”

Allchurches Trust Grants Officer, Jeremy Noles, said: “The new hostel will make a difference by providing more and better quality accommodation for homeless people in need of the charity’s help, but also a much-needed expansion in the day services they can offer.”

Stonepillow, previously known as ‘St Richard of Chichester Christian Care Association’, was founded in 1989 with help from Churches Together and local congregations. Their priority was to tackle the issue of homelessness in Chichester. What started as a charity providing only three beds to rough sleepers, now employs 48 people and has 130 volunteers helping to deliver support across West Sussex.

Allchurches Trust gave a grant of £10,000 towards the cost of the new building, which will help many to find stability and secure accommodation.

The High Sheriff of Sussex cuts the ribbon to open new hostelThe High Sheriff of Sussex cuts the ribbon to open new hostel