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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Neighbours welcome new plan for former Carlisle hostel for homeless

Residents in the Denton Holme area of Carlisle have welcomed a plan to bring a former hostel for homeless men back into use as accommodation for people with learning difficulties.

Impact hostel photo
Impact's hostel on St James Road, Carlisle

The facility in St James Road was at the centre of a controversy after a resident living there raped a 16-year-old girl in the city .

Now bosses at Impact Housing, which owns the building, have confirmed that they are to lease the building to the Glenmore Trust, which works with Cumbrian people with learning difficulties.

The News & Star spoke to residents living near the former hostel, and they were united in their support for the new project. David Humpston, 62, who lives just along the street from the building, said: “I originally wrote a letter of complaint about the homeless hostel but I changed my mind and was in favour.

“It never caused me any problem at all. I’d be in favour of the building being used again for people with learning difficulties.

“It will be ideal for it.”

Another St James Road resident, Ian Grey, 60, who felt the hostel for homeless men served a useful purpose, said of the proposed new use for the building: “I’d be quite happy for it to be there.”

His wife Carol, 62, added: “It’s fine as long as the people there have support.”

Another couple living on the street, Gill and Willie Banks, were also pleased.

“It’s very positive,” said Mr Banks, 63, explaining that Impact’s chief executive Mike Muir rang him to explain the plans for the building.

He and Mrs Banks, who both supported the idea of a homeless hostel in the street, said they supported the new use for the building.

At St James’ Church, assistant administrator Bridget Macfarlane commented: “I think it’s a great idea.

“There’s a lot of caring going on in this area already and it will be great to see that continuing.”

Mike Muir confirmed the building is being leased to the Glenmore Trust, and will provide supported accommodation for several people with learning difficulties.

He said: “The Glenmore Trust, which has been identifying all of the residents who will be moving, will be contacting residents in the area to introduce themselves once they’ve finalised the details.

“In the meantime, we have been carrying out building works to meet the needs of the individuals who will be living there.”

Andrew Shekell, chief executive of the trust, said that seven residents would be living at the St James Road building, with appropriate support.

He added: “It’s going to be a positive move.

“It’s a lovely building in a nice area, and people there are being very, very supportive.”

The building has been mothballed since the controversy surrounding former resident Mark Jackson, 50, who is now serving a 12-year jail term for raping the teenager in October 2011.

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