A FRONTLINE homeless charity that was forced to close its doors last November is getting ready to reopen next month.

The Marie Trust, formed in 2009, lost its former premises on Midland Street after a lease extension from former landlords The Wayside Club fell through at the last minute.

Since then, it has been offering crisis intervention and access to some health and wellbeing services from the Copland Hotel in Govan and the Rennie Mackintosh Hotel near Central Station after difficulties finding a permanent location.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Now chief officer Frances McKinlay says she is hopeful the new premises at 29 Albion Street, the former home of Café India in Merchant City, will help the charity grow.

She said: “The difference is people will know where to find us and people can walk right off the street.

“Before, people had to walk up a lane to find us and we couldn’t advertise our services on the building.

“We’ve been working with City of Glasgow College design students and they’ve been designing our window display for us, new letterheads, business cards, and our new website went live on Monday.”

Once completed, services offered in the new building will include crisis intervention, a pharmacy, dental care, a training café and a healthy living café.

Drop-in crisis intervention services provided by the organisation include liaising with homeless casework teams, access to addiction and mental health services, adult protection referrals and providing practical support with clothing and toiletries.

The not-for-profit healthy living café provides three nutritious meals a day, with an average of over 80 people using it as their main source of food.

READ MORE: Homelessness charity The Marie Trust could lose premises over lease row with The Wayfair Club

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While the café is also supported by the charity’s training kitchen where volunteers learn how to cook from scratch while developing life and work skills. Despite the excitement of the new location, Frances says the charity’s budget has been stretched by the price of relocating.

She said: “We’re hoping to open at the end of August but it’s difficult because we are a small charity and our funding is reserved for services, and because people don’t know a lot about us.

“There’s been lots of surprises in the building and it needs completely redecorated.

“William Wilson [Plumbing Merchants] are going to support us with our bathroom fitting but we haven’t been able to get support for electricals, flooring and carpeting.

“We’re looking for tradesmen, tiles, skirting, vinyl flooring and someone who could lay it, and a glazier to fit the front door.

“It’s difficult for companies because of the pandemic and we are a small charity so a lot of people don’t know about us so we don’t always get access to support where other organisations that are bigger do.”

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She added: “Homeless people deserve somewhere nice to go and we want to get it finished and get it open.”

The Marie Trust helps 2,700 people and receives over 19,000 presentations for support each year.

It supports rough sleepers into accommodation, people in emergency homeless accommodation and previously homeless people who are at risk of becoming so again.

The charity is a frontline service for homeless people which remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic where it was still seeing up to 90 people a day.

To find out more about The Marie Trust or how to donate visit https://www.themarietrust.org/