Two housing aid charities merged into one last year are about to celebrate the official opening of their new home so they can grow stronger together.
CHAS @ St Vincent’s is planning an opening ceremony at its new premises in Allenby House, Rees Way, Undercliffe, on Thursday, April 11.
Its director Ruth Batty says it marks the first major step to helping them better serve the people of Bradford – and now beyond into West Yorkshire.
In April 2012, CHAS Bradford joined national charity St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales), which opened doors for the Bradford side of the venture to be part of the bigger organisation’s regional and national funding bids.
All of CHAS Bradford’s existing funding contracts were moved across to the new organisation, which included the support it gets from Bradford Council and social housing provider Incommunities.
There are 23 staff and a team of 15 volunteers currently working from the new base, which expects to have around 6,000 people a year using its furniture service and help about 80 people with debt and social advice every week.
Mrs Batty said the charity was “settling in nicely”, having moved from its previous furniture warehouse and advice office in Rebecca Street that its staff shared with Incommunities.
“It’s good for us all to be back under the same roof and it’s easier for the people who come to us to have access to everything we do in just the one-stop,” she added.
“Like a lot of smaller charities, CHAS was struggling because grant-givers seemed to be looking more at regional bids. St Vincent’s had the same ethos as us to prevent homelessness and help those in poverty, so that’s why we asked if we could join them.”
CHAS began in Bradford in 1965 as the Catholic Housing Aid Society, giving out legal housing advice. From there it grew to include other issues, from debt advice to immigration, welfare and benefits.
Despite its name and being founded by members of the Catholic Church, no one has to be linked to a church to work with them or use the service.
Volunteers are always needed to join the charity and help it reach out to even more people in need.
Those interested can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.