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Former Wirral pub turned into flats for homeless
A DERELICT Wirral pub has been transformed into flats where homeless people can stay as part of their return to independent living.
The former Grand Trunk in Duke Street, Birkenhead, was bought and renovated by Wirral Churches' Ark Project as part of a Government-funded scheme to help bring empty properties back into use.
The official opening took place this week and was performed by local resident Pat Cotgrave.
Each flat has a shower-room and combined bedroom/living room/kitchen area.
There is also a communal bathroom and sitting room. All our residents have their own front-door keys.
Wirral Ark's chief executive Officer Anne O’Marah said: "The six studio flats we offer here are for homeless people who may need longer term support.
"This new facility is the first of its kind for us and adds to our range of provision.
"This new facility is distinct from our Arkangel supported housing scheme, which provides seven two-bedroom houses in Wallasey and Birkenhead for 14 clients who are ready for semi-independence."
A major part of the rest of the acquisition and renovation cost was met by a £28,000 contribution from the Rotary Club of Wallasey. It was their largest-ever charitable donation.
Attending the opening were Wirral's mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Gerry and Margaret Ellis and Rotary's district governor Roger Heath.
Cllr Ellis said: "Wirral is more than fortunate to benefit from the inspirational and dedicated work of The Ark in helping those who, sadly, find themselves without a home."
Jill Bennett, President of Wallasey Rotary and Doug McCall, Immediate Past President, presented the Club’s cheque to The Rev Robert Nelson, chairman of the Wirral Churches' Ark Project and unveiled a commemorative plaque.
Wirral Churches' Ark Project was started in 1991 by the Wallasey Council of Christian Churches. It began as a temporary winter shelter for the homeless becoming a year-round operation in 1998.
Chairman Rob Nelson said: "The Ark has been available to the homeless every single day since then and we have an 86 percent success rate in returning to independent living those who have sought our help.
"A minority return to us, sometimes several times, but most of those coming to The Ark are people we have never seen before. The problem of homelessness goes on and on."