TWO ‘vital’ organisations that work together to tackle homelessness in Barnsley are set to shut down due to spiralling costs, increased demand and rising concerns over some users’ antisocial behaviour.

Barnsley Churches Drop-In Project (BCDP) has been dedicated to helping the town’s homeless since 2002 and was founded when two people were found in a church doorway.

The project runs several days a week to provide food, aid and other items to people on the streets, and is reliant on donations to keep going.

BCDP has been at three different premises over the years, but is now based at Temperance House on Pitt Street.

However, since being at its current venue, the organisation has struggled with rent, business rates and the rise in homeless people on Barnsley’s streets.

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And this week, the project announced it would be closing its premises on Pitt Street.

“It is with deep sorrow that the trustees of Barnsley Churches Drop-In Project have to announce the closure of their Pitt Street premises,” a statement said.

“This closure is caused entirely by circumstances outside our control - including complaints from our neighbours about unacceptable visitors’ behaviour, spiralling costs making it difficult to recommit to a further long-term lease and difficulty sourcing relevant food donations.

“The project has been running for more than 18 years, helping the homeless and impoverished within the Barnsley area. Although we are vacating our current premises, the charity will continue to support the needy in other ways yet to be fully decided.

“Our last session at the Pitt Street site will be held on Friday, March 27.

“We would to thank all our volunteers, suppliers and donators for their wonderful support and hope that we can continue to receive their assistance in our future efforts.”

The spokesman also said there would be more announcements about the future of the charity after a meeting on March 30.

The closure of BCDP has meant that another organisation, Action for Barnsley Homeless - which operates out of Temperance House - will have to close.

Action for Barnsley Homeless runs a kitchen every Tuesday and Jill Martin, from the group, said volunteers only heard about the closure after an announcement went up on Facebook.

“We rent from BCDP,” said Jill. “We didn’t know about what had happened until someone got in touch with us and sent us the link to the Facebook post. Someone sent it us and said they were sorry to hear about the bad news.

“I spoke to one of the members of BCDP and he said it’s right and that BCDP won’t be renewing the lease. We will be working together to find another premises and we would like a venue with a kitchen so we can cook.

“None of us want these organisations to fold, it would be devastating. People that are vulnerable will have nothing if we’re gone.

“It’s so important that vulnerable people have access to these services. We don’t just give people food, we give them clothing and we listen to them.”

Jill said the organisations will be looking for another premises in the town centre, but they want it to be easy to access.

“It’s so important that the premises is accessible to our clients,” said Jill. “I know it is difficult when people are on drugs or alcohol but we have got to look at the bigger picture. Homeless is an issue in Barnsley that needs to be tackled.”

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis added: “I am very concerned that BCDP and Action for Homeless Barnsley are facing the risk of closure.

“Both organisations do fantastic work supporting residents in Barnsley who have fallen on hard times and are without a bed for the night. I will be working closely to support them at this difficult time.

“In the fifth-richest economy in the world, it is simply unacceptable that anyone should be sleeping on the streets. I’m working hard to tackle the scourge of homelessness in South Yorkshire and ensure that everyone has a stable, secure place to call home.”

Jill is asking anyone who can help the charities find a new premises to search for Action for Barnsley Homeless or call them on 07762 823720.