Homeless charity Doorway is moving into the Citadel Hall, one of Chippenham’s most iconic and historic buildings, thanks to the support of contractor Stonewood Builders.
The Castle Combe-based company has pledged to convert the 118-year-old building on the Bath Road into a perfect base for the charity, which supports hundreds of people who are sleeping rough, sofa surfing or who are at risk of losing their homes.
Many of those it helps have mental health issues or drug and alcohol addiction and as well as food and emotional support, the charity’s staff provide housing and benefit guidance, practical support and help connect guests to health and advice services.
Director, Jo Kitching, said the move will allow Doorway – currently based at the Salvation Army Hall in Foghamshire – to expand its services, open for longer and help more people.
She said, “The move gives us a massive opportunity to do more of what we need to do and bring everything that is scattered about the town into one place.
“All of our food is in two private garages in the town, our offices are on Station Hill and we have drop-in and clothes storage at the Salvation Army Hall so having everything in one place is going to be transformational.”
Stonewood will be working at cost to replace all the ground floor flooring, build a new kitchen and install a disabled toilet and shower as well as redecorating throughout.
Jo continued, “I have known about Stonewood for years through my involvement in the property world and they are the best contractor around. They have been really enthusiastic about this project and it is an enormous weight off my shoulders that I have got Stonewood who are utterly dependable, looking after the building.”
Staff are busy planning the move, which should be complete by the beginning of July. Having more space will allow it to expand its opening days from its present two to four by the end of the year, growing to five by next year. Partners such as Wiltshire Council’s rough sleeper outreach worker and Turning Point addiction advisors will be offered private consultation space.
The Citadel was built by the Salvation Army in 1903 but it was found to be too small and prone to flooding so the owners moved to the former Co-op hall in Foghamshire in 1971. Since then it has been used by North Wiltshire District Council and was a Tourist Information Centre, before most recently being used as a mail-drop centre for Mailboxes Etc.
Jo added, “There was no question that The Citadel is brilliant for us and not just because of the space but because of the name of it as well, it is perfect. We are so grateful to Stonewood for its support and we know they will do what’s right for the building.”
Stonewood Builders managing director Matt Aitkenhead said the 45-year-old family firm, which specialises in refurbishing and developing older buildings, is pleased to be supporting the charity.
He said, “We are extremely community-minded and helping a group like Doorway, that does such a fantastic job in helping rough sleepers find somewhere to live and then stay there, does feel appropriate for us. We want to see Doorway thrive and we are very proud to be playing a part in that.”
For more about how to help Doorway go to doorwayproject.org.uk and for more about Stonewood Builders’ services go to stonewoodbuilders.co.uk.
Pictured above: Doorway Chief Executive Jo Kitching with members of the Stonewood Builders team who are converting The Citadel in Chippenham into Doorway’s new home