MP joins fight on future of hostel

EASTWOOD’s MP and town council have both got behind the battle to save the Stepping Stones homeless hostel.

MP Gloria De Piero has written to the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and at a meeting this week Eastwood town councillors told the shelter manager they would give her campaign their full support.

Ms De Piero visited Stepping Stones hostel last week after the Advertiser revealed it was threatened with closure under county council budget cuts and was earmarked to have its grant scrapped, forcing it to close down in July.

She said she had an ‘emotional day’ with the residents, hearing ‘harrowing’ stories about their backgrounds and how worried they were about where they were going to live.

She has now written to the leader of the council, Cllr Kay Cutts, asking her to reconsider the proposals.

“I was deeply moved by the tales of these young people, many of whom have been through family breakdowns and who are now homeless through no fault of their own,” she says in the letter.

“All the young people I met are now on courses or looking at pathways into work.

“I dread to think what would happen to them if Stepping Stones were to close’.

She goes on to ask Ms Cutts to ‘at least pay the hostel a visit to see the good work they do’.

Hostel manager, Jo Ball, turned up to an Eastwood Town Council meeting on Monday night with arm fulls of petition papers asking for the councillors’ support.

She said: “These young people are the most vulnerable and we need to support them. They’re not bad kids. They just need help.”

Eastwood Mayor Brian Griffin said he was proud of the good work done by the hostel and its residents and Cllr Bob Charlesworth said he would not want to see the building empty again.

Homeless services falls under the county council’s Supporting People budget which has been reduced by £10m over the next four years.

But if Stepping Stones, in Church Street, were to close there would be no provision for the homeless in the whole of South Nottinghamshire.

Ms Ball is looking to get 5,000 signatures on her petition to help her try and keep the hostel open.

“We are always full and always have awaiting list,” she said.

“They needn’t think there’s no homeless people in Broxtowe, because there is.”