Thanks to our generous supporters, the city centre project is now open on Saturdays, providing a fun and relaxed environment for men and women who would otherwise feel isolated at the weekends.
So many people seem to live for the weekend, and dislike that back-to-work Monday feeling. But if you’ve lost touch with family and have no disposable income, weekends can be long and lonely. Many services which open through the week are shut, and our guests have shared with us how difficult they find Saturdays and Sundays.
We are very grateful to our supporters whose generosity has enabled us to open from 4-8pm on Saturdays. With a laidback weekend feel, we show films, have pizza and there’s time to chat and play games.
Alfie, who helps run the Saturday sessions, says, “There was a gap in the city from 4-8pm when there was nothing else open. Everybody likes to do something with their weekend. People like to go out for a meal or go shopping or have a night out.
"Our guests should get the opportunity to feel like they’re having a night out too. And you get to know people better on a Saturday. After the film we all get together and play a game, and you get more of a chance to chat to people and get to know more about them.”
Adam appreciates being able to come here on a Saturday. He says, “I started coming here because of my situation – I stopped working and I didn’t have any money. I can get food and a shower. The movies are good, and so is the food and coffee. It’s a warm place to come. I meet people from other countries I never knew before. It’s become an international meeting.”
Peter has been coming on a Saturday for a few months. He says, “A friend was coming before me and I came along with him and took a real shine to it. You can sit and watch movies and chill out and relax. You get more of a chance to speak to people on a Saturday and the atmosphere is more relaxed. If I wasn’t here I’d probably be sitting in my room, watching football.
Some people just come on a Saturday, and others such as Adam and Peter come through the week as well. Peter says, “I help out on a Wednesday and Friday evening. I do the laundry on a Friday. I did it to start with to keep my mind off other things and to stop me getting into mischief.
"But then helping here, something was growing inside me. It’s good to see the effect of helping other people and being in this environment. It’s a nice place to be a part of. I go home exhausted but I think, ‘what I did today was good stuff. What will tomorrow bring?’”
This article first appeared in the winter issue of Connect magazine. Read the full magazine online (pdf).