Herring House homeless hostel in Yarmouth improved after �3m project

A FORMER heroin addict who spent nights sleeping in the snow at the seafront has told of how a Great Yarmouth homeless hostel helped him turn his life around.

“David”, who does not want to be identified, was taken in by Herring House Hostel in Great Yarmouth nine years ago.

He says he owes his life to staff at the hostel, which this month completed a �3 million extension and refurbishment to help more people in the borough.

The 63-year-old was working as a security porter at the James Paget Hospital when his life spiralled out of control.

A slipped disc saw him put on a course of tablets, but they could not alleviate the excruciating pain and he turned to heroin.

This led to an eight-year addiction, the loss of his job and his home and severe illness.

Herring House, in St Nicholas Road, helped him overcome his addiction and he has been clean for nine years.

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And David, who is now living in supported accommodation, is training to mentor young people who are struggling with substance abuse.

The new look Herring House opened on Friday, and David went along to see its good work.

“It’s mind-blowing what it looks like now,” he said.

“It helped me so much and helped me get on my feet; it’s taken a long time but I’ve done it and the people who run this hostel are excellent.”

The 31-bedroom hostel has just undergone a �3 million overhaul which increased the number of bedrooms from 28; upgraded all rooms to en suite; created a self-contained four-bedroom house area to help teach people independent living; a communal kitchen and training facilities.

The project comes as the former Two Bears hotel in Cobholm is to be turned into a 20-bedroom homeless hostel.

More than 300 homeless people approached Herring House Trust for support last year.

Gaynor Collin, business manager at Herring House Trust, said the hostel aims to help people get back on their feet.

“This can be a new start for everyone living in the hostel, she said. “People can stay with us for up to two years and we are able to offer support to address the issues that have resulted in them being homeless.

“We will be better equipped than ever to support clients, offering training and employment skills, access to specialist services and a full resettlement package to help people move towards living independently.”

The hostel helps homeless people over 18 and when they are ready, residents can move on to a halfway house.

The �3 million for the project came from Garfield Weston Foundation, the Homes and Communities Agency, LandAid, Norfolk Community Foundation, N-DAP (Norfolk Drug & Alcohol Partnership), The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation and The Tudor Trust, along with support and donations from local groups.

The hostel was designed by Norwich-based Ingleton Wood, built by Youngs Homes and project managed by Davis Langdon LLP on behalf of Broadland Housing Association.

If you are homeless, visit Herring House Trust at 51 St Nicholas Road, Great Yarmouth or call 01493 331524.