New home and name for St Theresa’s

Doug Styles outside St Theresa's day centre in Manor House Street. (METP--09-09-10BD501) Picture: Ben Davis
Doug Styles outside St Theresa's day centre in Manor House Street. (METP--09-09-10BD501) Picture: Ben Davis
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A CASH-STRAPPED, homeless centre in Peterborough is being forced to move to a new base and change its name to survive.

St Theresa’s, which provides support to homeless people in the city, has announced it will close its day centre in Manor House Street in June 2011 and is now searching for new premises.

It has also re-named itself Peterborough Streets with immediate effect.

The charity currently faces a £50,000 shortfall in this year’s £200,000 budget.

Day centre manager Doug Styles said they cannot afford to pay the £2,000 a month needed for a new lease for the site in Manor House Street so they were looking for a new base.

Although the preference is for the new site to be near the city centre, Mr Styles conceded that this may not be possible because of lack of funds.

He said: “Purely for the benefit of our clients we would prefer a city centre location, so clearly we will have to negotiate with anybody who is prepared to offer us one.

“If we move away from the city centre there is a possibility it will have a detrimental impact upon our clients, although there is a school of thought that if people are desperate enough, they will find us.

“However, we would rather continue the charity in a more remote location than see it close.

“We always knew that we would not be able to stay here. It’s just not financially viable for us to remain for the rate we will be charged.”

The charity is currently in talks with one city landlord about a potential new premises but negotiations are still in the early stages.

The Evening Telegraph launched a fundraising appeal in January when it appeared that the charity was at risk of closure.

The appeal did boost donations, reducing the charity’s shortfall from £60,000 to £50,000.

But the charity thinks that the name St Theresa’s may dissuade people from donating due to its religious connotations, so they have resolved to change the name.

Sue Watters, charity chairman, said: “Although the St Theresa’s name is well recognised and respected in the community, there are a number of challenges associated with the name which led to this change.

“Many people, for example, mistakenly believe that we are funded or managed by the church.”

While the shelter has been praised for the service it provides to vulnerable people in the city, it has come under fire in the past from some residents of Manor House Street who argue it has turned the area into a haven for drug dealers and street drinkers.

SINCE it was founded in 1991, St Theresa’s has provided a vital service to the homeless and needy in Peterborough.

Although it was named after St Theresa, a French saint who looked after the homeless, the charity is not funded by the church.

It also ran a family centre in Dogsthorpe which was set up in 1997 but closed in 2008 due to ongoing financial problems.

Up until 1997, the day centre was open two days a week, but due to increasing demand this was extended to five days a week.

St There’s website