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HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, welcomed guests to the site of its new development, The Bluebird Project, to celebrate the turning of the first sod, also known as the ground breaking ceremony, at the charity’s innovative new project for homeless people in the town.
The development, which will house 50 people who have experienced homelessness when it opens in 2022, is located on Southchurch Avenue, and is being built to innovative and environmentally friendly ‘PassivHaus’ specifications, which will provide a high level of comfort for residents while using very little energy for heating and cooling.
Residents are expected to be mainly younger people experiencing homelessness, and most will be engaged in work or education, needing support, structure and a platform to recover and learn life-skills, before moving on to independent living in the community.
There will also be a purpose-built Learning for Life centre on site, offering residents the chance to learn life-skills and take part in training to prevent a return to homelessness in the future, and an on-site management and security team.
Guests included the Mayor of Southend-on-Sea, Cllr Margaret Borton, and Cllr Trevor Harp, and the official turning of the first sod ceremony was performed by HARP Trustee Alex Kaye.
Nicky Houston, director of property development at HARP, said: “We’re so pleased to finally ‘turn the first sod’ at our Bluebird development. This project has been four years in the making, and is the result of a lot of hard work at HARP and with our various partners, including SK Architects, and A.W. Hardy who are managing the site.
“This project represents real hope for young people in the town who experience homelessness, and will provide a springboard for many to improve their lives and live independently in the community.
“We will also improve the locality with a high quality build, and do our bit for the environment by working to ‘PassivHaus’ specifications.”
You can find out more about the charity’s work on HARP’s website at www.harpsouthend.org.uk