AN INITIATIVE to help homeless people find secure accommodation are celebrating its success.

The Half Time initiative - a partnership between YMCA Bournemouth, Faithworks Wessex, BCARS (Bournemouth Christians alongside rough sleepers) and Christians in the town - has found over 40 rough-sleepers a safe place to stay since it was introduced.

During its official opening Dr Ian Terry, the team rector of the town centre parish, said: "Half Time is the hands, feet and heart of Christ in practical compassion. I thank God for the partnership that has brought this about."

David Chidwick, of Faithworks Wessex, added: “Half Time builds on a football theme; in a football match as in life, we could be losing 2-0 but, if at half time, we have a good manager and a good team talk, the right support and motivation, maybe the second half of the match could be turned around.

"Maybe we could get back to 2-2 and then actually win the game.

"Things can change for the better and lives can be transformed if we walk alongside someone to build up their confidence and hope.”

Half Time has been used as a place for rough-sleepers to get off the streets over the winter months. They are given a chance to speak about their situation and work out a long-term plan, with access to a washing machine and shower facilities and help to get identification organised.

Mr Chidwick said: “The themed venue has a green turf carpet and although not everyone will experience victory they will certainly experience something of God’s love and compassion through getting motivation and support and love in the simplest and most practical of ways."

Jonathan Clark, joint Vice Chair of BCARS said: “We set up BCARS three years ago with the aim of playing our part in getting to zero rough sleepers by 2020.

"In 2016/2017 Sleepsafe has helped over 40 people into accommodation with the help of the Half Time centre; this is a great result.”