A charity which took on two flats to provide much-needed shelter for homeless youngsters has received a cash boost to support the scheme.
Gallery Youth, in Alnwick, has been awarded an £8,000 grant from the Virgin Money Fund at the Community Foundation.
The Bondgate Within-based organisation currently manages the temporary accommodation units in the town, offering up to five bed spaces at any one time.
The money will enable the charity to increase the shelter and support it provides to vulnerable youths.
Project manager Ian McRae said: “This is very important and it is a great boost for us.
“It will help refurbish and support the housing side of the project and helps us give vulnerable youngsters more support and stability.”
Earlier this year, the Gazette reported that there had been a surge in the number of youngsters sleeping rough in 2012.
Shockingly, in Alnwick alone, 10 people, aged between 18 and 24, were sleeping rough at different points.
They were being forced to find shelter in tents and bushes because of the lack of emergency support. Others were sleeping on friends’ sofas.
However, Ian says that the situation has improved recently and believes that Gallery Youth’s intervention has played its part.
“There has been a decrease in the numbers of homeless youngsters in the town and I think a contributing factor is because we have got these properties,” he said.
Gallery Youth is also working with youth homelessness charity Depaul UK to expand a Nightstop service.
A number of residents from north Northumberland have volunteered to provide a spare bed on a temporary basis for homeless youngsters.
Brian Giles, head of communications and community, at Virgin Money, was delighted to give the cash to Gallery Youth.
He said: “It was a pleasure to support the Community Foundation in the awarding the grant to such a good cause.
“It was inspirational for us to meet the Gallery Youth team and see for ourselves the brilliant work they do, everyday, in support of homeless young people in the community.”