The Mayor of Mansfield has said the authority will help two soup kitchens find alternative venues after they were given two weeks notice of eviction from the Market place this week.
Mayor Kate Allsop said there had been concerns about health and safety in the running of the Mansfield Soup Kitchen and the Help The Homeless Soup kitchen.
Mansfield Mayor Kate Allsop said: “Having visited various projects and consulting with providers of homelessness and low income support services, the Executive has concluded that there is adequate provision in the town. In fact much more is done here in Mansfield than in other districts.
“The Cabinet and other organisations have expressed concern over the safety and running of mid-week soup kitchens on Mansfield market.
Those soup kitchens have been asked to find a more appropriate location on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The council will work with them to identify an alternative venue for this service.
“Mansfield District Council delivers a comprehensive Homelessness shared service which gives support to people who need it the most. This includes money management, debt, harassment and eviction and other factors that contribute to a person becoming homeless. We continue to provide emergency and temporary accommodation for people who unfortunately do become homeless.”
The organisers of the Help The Homeless soup kitchen which has been giving a lifeline to homeless and vulnerable people for 15 years - were devastated when they were given a letter telling them to quit last night.
This eviction is in addition to Mansfield Soup Kitchen which was told to leave the area within two weeks on Wednesday.
Both have been told to find an indoor venue by Councillor Barry Answer, Mansfield District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing.
Volunteer for the Help the Homeless soup kitchen, which is run in conjunction with the Beacon Project, Elizabeth Hanon said: “I was devastated when I read the letter last night. This soup kitchen which was started by the Temple Trust, has been here 15 years and we can’t understand why they would suddenly want us to leave.
”I think the council is just burying its head in the sand about the homeless problem in Mansfield.
“We served 47 homeless and vulnerable people last night.
“It wasn’t so long ago Mr Answer came down and had a chat with us I am very surprised at this.
“We help people out with clothes as well as a hot meal and advice on where they can get help.
“I fear people will go out and beg steal or even rob because they rely on us for food.
“Or worse we will be finding people dead in doorways.”
The Help the Homeless soup kitchen runs on Thursdays from 8.30-9.30pm.
Elizabeth said she was planning to protest to the council and organise a petition against the notice to quit.
Volunteers at the Mansfield Soup Kitchen which runs on Mansfield Market on a Wednesday evening were devastated after it was given two weeks notice to close on Wednesday evening.
Nottinghamshire County councillor for Mansfield East Colleen Harwood, said:”I am very concerned the soup kitchen has have been served a two week notice to quit, from Councillor Barry Answer, they say that it is not needed in the area, and should end in two weeks.
“But there is a real need for the soup kitchen, and the service users that need it agree.
“The soup kitchen volunteers are devastated there was no explanation or discussion over why it couldn’t continue .
“As a county councillor I have arranged for Mansfield councillors to donate tents and things in the past . I don’t see how it affects the other soup kitchens at the Beacon centre and The Hall.
“It is certainly not in competition, it just provides a meal at a different time of the week. If they are going to close it down they should give them alternative premises to continue their work in this area .
“We have such a high amount of homeless in the area.”
The group was only founded in November last year and now feeds around 40 people every week on the market stalls in Mansfield town centre and relies on donations of food and money to keep it going.
In a statement , Councillor Barry Answer, Mansfield District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing said:
“Mansfield District Council values the help and support of all homeless charities and organisations across the district.
“On this occasion we have asked Mansfield Soup Kitchen to find an indoor venue for their operation on a Wednesday and Thursday evening to ensure that their customers and volunteers can have a welcoming and safe environment all year round.
“The Homeless Network is helping to identify a new venue for the Soup Kitchen, however if anyone is interested in hosting Mansfield Soup Kitchen please get in touch with them on firstname.lastname@example.org.”