Open Day brings people together to help tackle homelessness

published on 5 Aug 2022

Jeanette and David Lees Orchard Bradford
Majors Jeanette and David Lees with staff member Steven and volunteer Trevor

An event bringing together agencies from across Bradford who support people who are homeless took place at The Salvation Army’s Orchard Community last week.

The Orchard Lifehouse* in Leeds Road provides somewhere to stay and support for issues such as mental health and addiction for up to 42 single homeless men.

The Day Centre drop in provides a safe place for people to sit, eat, wash and get support with housing or healthcare needs. Within the complex there is a corps (church) and the Oasis Community Hub.

More than 70 people attended the church and charity’s open day on Thursday 28 July including representatives from Bradford City Council, Hope Housing, BHOP (Bradford Homelessness Outreach Partnership), Emmaus Bradford, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, and faith and community groups.

Orchard Chaplain Major Christine Comely
Orchard Chaplain Major Christine Comely

Major Christine Comely, who is chaplain at The Orchard, said: “The Open Day was an opportunity for local people, our neighbours and those we link up with regularly to understand something of our ministry here.

“Many people pass by and see the front of The Orchard and wonder what is going on, so it’s been good to welcome people through the doors.

“It’s also helpful for us to meet people from other organisations we partner with so they have a greater understanding of what The Orchard offers and we can learn more about the work they do and how we can work together for the good of our guests.

“The Orchard is a place where everyone is welcomed and valued. Our ministry is holistic and all done in the name of Jesus who came to give us life in all its fullness.”

The Orchard is a place where everyone is welcomed and valued.
Major Christine Comely

Attendees were given a tour of the Lifehouse, Day Centre and Chapel, and enjoyed refreshments in the Oasis Café, a community hub that is open to members of the public offering affordable food and drinks every day between 10.30am and 2pm.

The Orchard has a minivan so staff can provide support for rough sleepers in the area, and the Lifehouse staff work closely with other agencies like the Homeless Outreach Partnership Team to provide clothing, food, sleeping bags and further assistance in the remoter parts of Bradford.

One attendee Lindsey, who is a community work coach and helps The Orchard clients access education and training, said: “It’s incredible to see what The Salvation Army is about and the quality of support that is offered. It’s also enabled us to network, talk to services and see how we can support each other.

“You need everybody working together to help people. There’s that phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, it takes a community to help an adult in crisis move forward, that’s what this open day is about.”

The Orchard in Bradford

Jamie, who works for community union ACORN, which brings people together to campaign for better housing and public services, said: “A lot of the work we do is help people who are living in poor, substandard housing.

"We have recently launched in Bradford so networking events like these are important so we can see how we can work together to make life better for people in the city. We’re also able to support Orchard clients if they have been dealing with their own housing issues that resulted in them losing their homes.”

Major David Lees, Service Manager at The Orchard, with his wife Major Jeanette, said: “It was a really positive day for ourselves and feedback from other agencies would suggest it has been really worthwhile to have the opportunity to meet together following the pandemic and see what we are all doing to support our service users.”

For more information please visit The Orchard website. 


*supported accommodation for people who are homeless

Jenny and her son.

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