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Mon August 08 2022

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Help-Link makes its mark in project to improve accommodation for homeless people

19 Oct 10 Yorkshire-based central heating and maintenance specialist Help-Link has proved the difference in a major renovation project to deliver better accommodation for the homeless.

Appointed the main contractor on the renovation of the Harrogate Homeless Project (HHP), the company contributed £19,000 towards the scheme which centred on knocking two adjoining Victorian terrace houses into one. 

Not only that, Help-Link’s team of 10 successfully completed the £296,000 renovation in just six months while working alongside residents who remained in the building on Bower Street as the HHP continued to operate its services. 

The team had to constantly extract dust to make living conditions for the residents acceptable, and work around supplies – water, gas and electricity – being left on. Health and safety was paramount. 

Help-Link also contributed to the planning and design of the new building, adapting to changes made during the works to ensure the needs of residents were fully met. A major alteration was the introduction of skylights on staircases to improve the natural light in the building and provide a homely welcome. 

The result is that the HHP is now one large house with 16 single bedrooms, 11 toilets and eight shower rooms, offering much improved accommodation for its clients. Each bedroom has its own wash basin and there is a large kitchen. 

Harrogate Homeless Project (HHP) appointed Help-Link to lead the renovation which was funded by the Government’s Places of Change Programme and Harrogate Borough Council. 

Help-Link’s managing director Mel Butler said: “When we began the work we understood very quickly what a difference the renovation would make to the residents’ lives. We really wanted to go the extra mile and make additions and changes that would make a real difference, like the wash basins and the skylights.

“Operationally, the renovation was a challenge because HHP was still up and running. 

“But the result is a building fit for its purpose and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for us to be involved in such a worthwhile project.” 

The works completed by Help-Link also included:

  • energy efficient sensor lighting fitted in communal areas
  • new boiler and radiator upgrades with thermostats
  • roof voids insulated above current standards
  • internal insulation of outer walls
  • roof made solar-ready
  • plastering and redecoration and laying of new carpets. 

Liz Hancock, project manager at HHP, said: “The previous institutional feeling of the building has been removed and it now has a much more homely feel – more like a budget hotel than a homeless hostel! 

“Help-Link carried out its work with the utmost professionalism. It was quite a challenge with us still being open during the work, but the Help-Link team did everything it could to make the renovation as smooth as possible.” 

Former HHP resident and now staff member Carl Kemp added: “Opening up the two former houses has made a huge difference to the lives of residents who can stay all day if they wish rather than just at night. It is so much more homely and there is a real community atmosphere.” 

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