The Lord Mayor of Bradford (Councillor Zafar Ali) and Lady Mayoress (Zeabunnessa Zafar) visited The Orchard (Leeds Road, Bradford BD3 9NG) and heard from day shelter visitors and Lifehouse residents about the “lifesaving” assistance they receive at the one-stop-shop for the community.
The Lord Mayor visited The Orchard, which provides tailored support and accommodation at its Lifehouse (residential site with up to 46 beds) to people experiencing homelessness, as well as a day shelter supporting people with high complex needs and linking them in with appropriate agencies and services. There is also a church on site – the whole project is run by The Salvation Army.
‘Simon’ lived at The Orchard for some eight months after the breakdown of his marriage left him with nowhere to live and he was struggling with drug dependency. He told the Lord Mayor that the help offered had been “lifesaving” and while at The Orchard he engaged with support agencies and got his life back on track. He has since moved on from the Lifehouse and from addiction; he is working and currently rebuilding his life independently but still visits the day shelter.
Service Manager Major David Lees said: “A range of partners work with us to ensure those who come to us for help can access the services they need and want most in a one-stop shop. That way, we can help them to identify the type of assistance they require to meet their personal goals while drawing on the expertise of those around us to help break down any barriers people are facing.
“In addition to helping people meet their own goals, we offer meaningful activities that are fun and teach useful life skills but also serve to boost self-esteem, confidence and friendship. Recently, some of our residents and visitors took part in a football game against our other Lifehouses at the Stadium of Light.”
The Lord Mayor said: “The Orchard undertakes some absolutely vital work for the local community in Bradford. In particular, they offer great facilities for homeless people who need a place to eat, wash and sleep.
“I also had many interesting conversations with those who do crucial work in offering support into employment, health care and pastoral care as well as friendship and a listening ear.
“As is reflected in my choice for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Appeal – Bradford Nightstop - I have a special interest in finding ways we can help support and protect homeless people. I hope that through organisations like The Salvation Army and Bradford Nightstop we can continue to do all we can in the district to help get people off the streets and accessing care and support they need to become independent.”
During the Lord Mayor’s visit, the newly formed BD3 Community Choir provided music in their first public performance. The group is open to the community and meets weekly on a Thursday at 1.30 pm for 45 minutes at the church hall on site.
The Orchard provides accommodation to up to 42 people and the day shelter is open every day throughout the year – more than 350 people visit each week.
In the past quarter, The Orchard has provided 4,117 meals, 875 uses of the shower facilities, helped 504 people with laundry and taken part in outreach work with people sleeping rough, engaging some 288 people.