CAMPAIGNERS have described the closure of a Bradford city centre day shelter after 40 years as “disgraceful”.

Bradford Day Shelter, on Edmund Street, is to be moved out of the city centre to the Salvation Army base on Leeds Road – one and a half miles away.

The move comes after Bradford Council took the contract for the service from Horton Housing and gave it to the Salvation Army, which will provide the day shelter service from December.

Campaigner Peter Robson, of the Bradford Socialist Party, said: “This is a disgraceful situation. This day centre has been an essential service for the destitute, homeless and dispossessed of this city for years.

“The probation service, social services and the NHS have often made referrals to there, with it literally keeping people alive at times with shelter, food and clothing.

“With the benefit cuts now kicking in, you can see the issue for yourself on the streets of this city.”

He added: “The centre will not be the same – it will be a much lesser service.

“And many say they won’t be able to get up to the new service through health issues, or be able to afford to get there.”

The council said it awarded the contract to the Salvation Army after a competitive tendering process.

Councillor Val Slater, the council’s deputy leader, said: “We greatly appreciate all the work Horton has done over the years to improve the lives of vulnerable people. A decision to award the contract to another organisation was not taken lightly, but after an extensive and detailed tendering process.

“Despite pressures from central government to cut budgets, local members have agreed to continue to make budget provision for a day shelter-type service and the level of service currently provided should not suffer.”

Horton Housing chief executive Paul Gartland said: “The day shelter has been in operation in Bradford since 1976, and over the years has provided a lifeline to countless number of clients.

“The day shelter is also an important part of Horton’s history. The association has developed and grown out of the day shelter and many of our staff have worked there throughout the years. We are very sad to see the say shelter close.

“We would like to thank all our staff, volunteers and supporters who have worked so hard to make the day shelter such a success over the years.”