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A safe-haven has been earmarked to act as a Covid secure night shelter for the Borough’s rough sleepers as temperatures look set to plummet.

Redditch Borough Council is making the Palace Theatre available to provide much needed shelter for people with nowhere to sleep, if the temperatures are forecast for zero or below anywhere in Worcestershire.

Space in the dressing rooms has been modified to provide individual sleeping accommodation to ensure that there is no shared airflow.

These dressing rooms are situated in the modern part of the building,  offering a safe and secure emergency shelter to the Borough’s rough sleepers. Measures have been put in place to prevent access to the stage and foyers in order to keep clients safe. Premises will be staffed by CCP, specialist support providers during its use as a night shelter.

In the past a local church hall has been used but because of the shared air-flow involved in communal sleeping the Council has had to take steps to protect clients from the spread of Covid-19.

This alternative venue was found by working together with Rubicon Leisure, as the theatre is currently out of use due to the pandemic.

Council Leader Matt Dormer said: “It is important to emphasise this is not a drop-in shelter and we will be working with StreetLink and using our CCP specialist outreach support service to contact known rough sleepers, to offer them this shelter when the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol is activated.

“Our Housing Options Team and CCP work together to engage with rough sleepers and try and find housing solutions but for some people accessing accommodation can be a challenge and the night shelter will keep them safe during the coldest weather.

“Now, more than ever, in this pandemic we want to encourage people to leave the streets, and this provision will help to do so safely and with Government approved measures in place to prevent this virus spreading.”

Residents who are concerned about anyone who appears to be rough-sleeping should notify StreetLink in the first instance at www.streetlink.org.uk

The Council’s Housing Options Service can be contacted on 01527 64252 during office hours and in an emergency on 01527 67666