Landlords in Old Town join forces with volunteers to help the homeless

Susan Rutherford, Vik Tara, Nick Wilkins, volunteers Clement Mawby and Elise Heath, and David French.
Susan Rutherford, Vik Tara, Nick Wilkins, volunteers Clement Mawby and Elise Heath, and David French.

Landlords have given a hand to volunteers in Old Town to help homeless people have a roof over their heads twice a week.

Kam and Kul Dhesi and Sandeep and Sukhvinder Panaich, in association with Vik Tara of Tara & Co Estate Agents, have allowed the non-profit organisation Local Winter Support to use the currently vacant Priors Club site in Tower Street since January while alternative plans for the building’s future are drawn up.

The site has a working kitchen and toilets and has been used to provide a place to stay for people who are homeless or just feeling lonely or vulnerable and need somewhere to stay on Friday and Saturday nights.

David French, marketing manager for Tara & Co said: “In a situation where many landlords would not have entertained the idea of helping out with such a project, these guys felt this was the right thing to do and Vik helped to set up the shelter alongside Leamington Winter Support.

“Several aspects had to be considered such as volunteers, insurance, and maintenance work to get the project set up.

“Many local tradesman also worked for free to enable the shelter to be set up as they felt this was such a good cause.”

The shelter looks after about 30 people per night and has about 100 volunteers, of which about 80 per cent are students from Warwick and Coventry Universities - several of whom live in and around Old Town.

They work across three shifts in the evening, night and morning.

Nick Wilkins is a joint co-
ordinator for the shelter alongside Susan Rutherford and Vishal Chauhan.

He said: “Being able to use the site has been absolutely brilliant.

“I also volunteer at the night shelter at Radford Road but here the building is not being used for anything else so we don’t need to spend time setting everything up and we didn’t need to modify anything.

“It has been unbelievably helpful.”

The building could eventually be converted into residential accommodation but the shelter will be able to use it until work starts.

Local Winter Support is appealing for more volunteers, donations of food and other useful supplies.

The team can be contacted by email at leamingtonws@gmail.com or by calling 07538 675203. Also, LWS Night Shelter can be followed on on Facebook.