A CHARITY aimed at helping homeless people back into the community has moved to a new space.

The AOK Rucksack Appeal has relocated to Meyrick Hall at Christchurch Road, also home of the Europa Business School.

Before Tuesday's session, the group was based at St Peter's Church. It was not a convenient arrangement, their chair Sally Harvey said, because they were very dependent on the times of the church services.

Now they will be running a group session every Tuesday, from 2-3pm, to help existing and former homeless people back into society in whatever way they can.

Ms Harvey said: "It's meant to be a group for mainly ex-homeless people who have left friends behind on the streets and want to make new friends.

"We also help people get birth certificates and help get people into work. It is client-led and it's about doing what people want to do.

"We signpost people to different organisations. I think it's about having people there to listen."

One of their clients Howard, based at the YMCA, said: "It's very good to be involved. I have got friends who are homeless and I try to get them to come here."

Ms Harvey added: "That's partly why we decided to have it here because it's equidistant to Boscombe and Lansdowne where most of our clients come from.

"Because we're trying to build self-esteem I think it's important to have a nice place. It shows we believe in them and that life will carry on."

As well as trying to find people jobs, the group gives them suits for interviews, and provides them with household goods when they move into accommodation.

Volunteer Julie Watson said: "We have had a few tears but they have been good tears because we've been able to help them move on. We have had some quite nervous people who come with their key workers and here they feel safe."

Ms Watson also said they've had their share of people come in who have relapsed into addiction but they try hard to help them get back on their feet.

"We have had huge success but now we need to encourage people to come here," she added. "We want to let people know we're here to help them in their next steps."