£500 for Bedford’s Prebend Day Centre

Prebend Day Centre is a landmark service in Bedford which changes lives by providing essential care and support to those facing homelessness in our local community. The centre has been running for over 20 years, and has become the face of SMART in Bedford since we took management in 2017, and is well known and respected among the local authorities, our partner organisations, and the local community.

During the height of the Covid pandemic, Prebend Day Centre was temporarily closed while the government’s national ‘Everyone In’ initiative was in place.  We began a phased reopening of the centre from January 2022, once again providing comforting aid and company to those who are socially isolated, and those who are at risk of, or are experiencing homelessness. We are now open 5 days a week for eat in hot meals, and 3 days a week for drop-in clinics for mental health, substance abuse and housing/debt advice. We are able to provide clean clothes, toiletries and basic food parcels to those who require them. We are widening our approach to homelessness prevention, as rough sleeping in Bedford is at an all time low so this area of provision is required less. But with the rise in the cost of living we are already seeing an increase in people who are currently housed asking for support. It is our focus now to prevent people who are vulnerably housed or at risk of homelessness/eviction from becoming homeless.

The grant provided by Bedfordshire Freemasons will ensure that those in need of support will be offered free activities that will improve their mental & physical wellbeing and skills/learning opportunities, setting them on a path where they will be more able to manage their needs and make considered life choices. These activities on offer will give service users an opportunity to speak to a support worker in an informal setting, allowing a natural building of trust between the individual and SMART. This relationship is vital to having the service user engage fully with the support we offer.