Police have warned that crime in Horsham town centre could rise if a charity providing support to the homeless does not find a new home.
Last week, the County Times launched the ‘Home 4 ARK’ campaign in a bid to find a new permanent home for ARK Horsham, currently based in Springfield Road.
The charity’s lease at Horsham United Reformed Church will come to an end in September.
With ARK’s future uncertain, PC James Munden and PCSO Charlene Parsons, who are assigned to the town centre, have thrown their support behind the charity’s bid for a new base. PC Munden said: “By helping the people that are in need, they are probably preventing crime.
“Sometimes we do get some issues created by some of the residents but it is a very small percentage that creates issues, the rest of them are making good use of the facilities.”
He praised founding director Lisa Burrell as ‘fantastic’ and said ‘she dedicates her life’ to ARK.
He added that taking people off the streets reduces crime, and if ARK is not able to find a new home, crime would increase. He said: “I think that it would create a lot of problems for Horsham.
“There would be a lot of people not getting the support they need because there have been so many cuts from all the government departments.
“There would be more problems with street drinkers, more criminal offences and anti-social behaviour.”
PCSO Parsons will be taking on the physical Nuts Challenge with members of ARK in September, and PC Munden explained that the link between the charity and local police is strong. He said: “We always try to help them out. I have taken one of them to my running club. Every single one of them will know mine and Charlene’s names.”
They added that a police order giving officers the power to confiscate alcohol has helped to control street drinking in the town centre. Volunteers at ARK serve a hot lunch on Mondays and Thursdays and hand out food parcels during an evening session on Tuesdays. The County Times is working with the charity to help them find a new base from which it can run its vital drop-in service.
Anyone who could help them can contact Lisa by phoning 07825 284054 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the charity, visit their website.
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