10:30AM, Thursday 22 February 2018
A homelessness charity could be set to hit the road amid continued uncertainty about its town centre future.
The Brett Foundation says it will buy a double-decker bus next month and move its kitchen, sleeping facilities and shower units inside.
Volunteers will then drive it around town, parking outside Maidenhead Synagogue, in Ray Park Road, or the Town Hall car park, in St Ives Road.
The irony of a homelessness charity losing a fixed address and wandering the streets was not lost on the charity’s founder, Sue Brett.
She said: “If I was a council leader I would be hugely embarrassed if (a homelessness group) had to go out and get a bus.”
The Royal Borough wants the Brett Foundation to leave its King Street drop-in centre ahead of the demolition of the adjacent Nicholsons Car Park.
The charity has until Easter to find new premises but has not been able to find any, despite multiple appeals in the Advertiser since last year.
At the end of 2017, Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without), the cabinet member for economic development, property, and deputy member for finance, told the Advertiser the council had another shop near to the drop-in centre and a meeting about the Brett Foundation moving there was suggested for early this year.
However, despite a meeting being held, nothing came out of it.
Nonetheless, speaking to the Advertiser yesterday (Wednesday), council leader Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) promised the Brett Foundation would not need to go homeless.
He believed an offer was due to be sent to the charity, and mentioned empty units near to the drop-in centre.
However the Advertiser has not received specifics on a timeframe or what is available.
“There is zero chance that they will be homeless,” Cllr Dudley said.
“We will ensure that they have the accommodation that they need.”
He added if the charity still wanted to buy a bus, he would look into the possibility of them pitching up at the car park next to the Town Hall.
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