A new facility to help homeless young people in the borough has been officially opened.
Former England footballer Trevor Sinclair was on hand to cut the ribbon opening Depaul House Whitley Bay, formerly The Compass Project.
I am proud to say that the modern new building will finally match our aspirations for the young people who live hereMartin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of Depaul UK
The site has been redeveloped to provide a new standard of safe accommodation for 14 young people aged 16 to 24 who would otherwise face homelessness.
Sinclair was joined by some of the charity leaders at the event, with a blessing from Depaul’s trustee and Bishop of Jarrow Rt Rev Mark Bryant, followed by a barbecue hosted by the residents.
Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of Depaul UK, said: “For 21 years, The Compass Project has provided a safe, welcoming place to stay to local young people going through a difficult time, many of whom had nowhere else to go.
“Today, I am proud to say that the modern new building will finally match our aspirations for the young people who live here.
“The true value of the work done in this house is in helping young people knit their lives back together.
“Our staff work tirelessly to support every young person that come through our door and in many cases we stay in touch long after they have gone on to achieve their dreams of work, a home and a family.”
“This service has been a force for good in the north east for two decades but it is thanks to the fantastic local communities, generous funders, energetic local councils and to our brilliant staff that we can welcome young people into its beautiful reincarnation today.”
Nicole, who is 21 and is staying at Depaul House Whitley Bay, said: “Last year, I had a falling out with my family and ended up homeless.
“I had nowhere to go and nowhere to find help.
“When my social worker helped me get a temporary place with Depaul, I was thrilled but it was still just temporary and I was always worried about where I would end up.
“Eventually, I got a permanent place in Depaul House – it’s amazing to have my own space and all the help from Depaul staff to get me back on my feet.
“I love Depaul House, staff is so supportive and the house is nothing like you think a hostel would be.
“It is a bright, nice place to live and it gives me hope and motivation for the future.”