Rogers Court opens its doors to Bedford rough sleepers this week

Left to Right: Lee Phanco (Bedford Borough Council), Ben Salisbury (Kier), Mayor Dave Hodgson (Bedford Borough Council), Shaun Hodgkin (Kier), Anita McCallum (SMART CJS), Stephen Fletcher (Bedford Borough Council) and Jen Robus (SMART CJS) outside the new Rogers Court facility.

Residents will move into Bedford Borough’s landmark rough sleepers’ facility later this week.

Rogers Court, situated on the corner of Kingsway and Cauldwell Street, is run by SMART Bedford. SMART provide services for local rough sleepers and were awarded a three year contract to develop and run the site.

It will house those currently rough sleeping and those at risk of doing so. Support will be available 24/7, providing a stable base for residents and helping them lead independent lives.

Anita McCallum, CEO of SMART CJS, said: “We are so delighted that rough sleepers are getting this much-needed investment in the form of excellent, independent units.

“These will be invaluable in getting people back on their feet, often after experiencing trauma and other difficulties in their lives. We have seen that when more

“Comprehensive support is given to those vulnerably housed or sleeping rough, they recover more quickly and can then get back into education, training and employment opportunities.”

Mayor Dave Hodgson at Rogers Court

Mayor Dave Hodgson said the facility would be an “incredible asset”.

He said: Throughout COVID-19, we have taken the approach of ‘Everyone In’ and done our best to engage with people and provide support to some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“We have worked proactively with SMART and other partners to find innovative ways to provide support, and help people make long-term improvements in their lives and benefit from this care and support to become independent.”

Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said “Rogers Court is an important step forward and an example of how seriously the Council takes homelessness and the support that we give to rough sleepers in our endeavour to eradicate rough sleeping.”

The building was remodelled and refurbished in six months by Kier Construction. Funding was awarded following the council’s successful government bid.

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