Accommodation that helps homeless people take their first steps towards independence has been refurbished thanks to charitable donations.

The Winchester Churches Nightshelter supports up to 200 people facing homelessness each year. Within it is a move-on accommodation called Ben’s House which is a halfway house for residents who are ready to leave the shelter.

It was named after Ben Blyth, an ex-Nightshelter resident who died in 2010 aged 33. Blyth suffered from a mental health condition and spent many months living homeless in Winchester, where received support from local agencies.

Ben’s House was recently refurbished with the help of patrons of CRASH, a charity that provides construction services to homelessness charities and hospices.

Arcadis, British Gypsum, Dulux Trade and Knauf Insulation donated their professional expertise and building materials, enabling the Nightshelter to refurbish Ben’s House and convert a disused garage onsite into a much needed private space for support work. CRASH also added a grant of £5,000, bringing the total value of support to £8,205.

Michele Price, the Nightshelter’s Manager, said: “We have always had in mind that the new rental house should feel like a home for our tenants.

“We want them to feel comfortable, safe and secure, so that they can have the best possible start to their experience of independent living after being at the Nightshelter.

“CRASH has been instrumental in making this happen – without their support, the project would not have launched as successfully as it has.”

Pictured: Former Nightshelter residents (far left and far right) celebrate the launch of Ben’s House with members of Ben Blyth’s family.