In July, Sarah Jennings and John Coyne visited the Council-run Single Men’s Centre at 2 Aigburth Drive in Sefton Park.
In meetings at the Solna Hotel some local residents had pointed to problems they believed are linked to the existence of the hostel at 2 Aigburth Drive.
It was clear that the management of the Centre are keen to maintain good relationships with local residents. The manager, Bill Piper, states that the Centre is staffed 24/7 and the office phone number is available for local people to call – 0151 225 8702. Bill himself attends during normal office hours, Monday to Friday.
The mission of the Centre is “To provide long term accommodation for vulnerable single men who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and have a range of needs including mental health and alcohol issues. The centre provides a safe and secure environment with support to enable them to live independently within the centre and the local community.”
Because of the age profile and the vulnerability of most of the residents, it is often they who are the victims of crime in the community, particularly assaults and other crimes against the person. It is recognised, however, that sometimes the residents do contribute to crime and disorder in the neighbourhood. Becuse the Centre is a hostel and not a treatment centre there is no resource to monitor or control the behaviour of individual residents outside the Centre.
And, again because the Centre does not have a detoxification programme, drinking is tolerated in the outside area to the rear of the premises. Part of the campus of a local school – Bellerive FCJ – shares a boundary with the Centre and we are told that there is no history of any complaint to the Centre from that school. [UPDATE 10th August – the school point out that they are objecting to the Solna application – the point here is the narrower one of relevance to neighbours sharing a boundary; any disturbance from the outside social drinking area has not been enough to warrant a complaint.]
One significant problem for the Centre is the derelict tower block – Belem Towers – which is next door. This site is a magnet for problem drinkers who congregate there and use the shelter provided by the overhang at the first floor level. Admittedly, some residents from 2 Aigburth Drive are caught up in the groups of drinkers there. Green Party councillors are pressing for a resolution of the future of the Belem Towers site.
We will update this post shortly to describe some of the excellent work being done by the local church to support and involve the men living at 2 Aigburth Drive. And the following longer description of the Centre explains more about how it operates.
Single Men’s Centre
2 Aigburth Drive
The single men’s centre is located on Aigburth Drive next to the Alicia Hotel.
The building is a converted Edwardian house it comprises of five floors including the basement and has rooms for 34 service users. It has a large garden in the rear of the building, which includes a sheltered drinking area for the clients.
To the front and side of the building, there is provision for parking cars etc.
The service users must be 40 years of age or over and able to a certain degree to be able to look after themselves.
Due to the age group and their single status, a high percentage of the service users have either alcoholism or slight mental health problems and support is provided to address these problems or manage the situation as need be.
The original purpose of the centre was to provide long-term accommodation for service users who were mainly in their late 50s or 60s and in many cases there was no intention or inclination to change their live style and the support was in managing this situation.
We are now seeing services users in their early forties and have had considerable success in moving them on to their own accommodation with long or short-term support being provided by outside agencies.
Each service user has his own room, and the accommodation is spread over four floors, all the accommodation is accessed by stairs (no lifts) the rooms are basically furnish and do not have their own washing or toilet facilities, these are all communal usage.
We do provide meals on site and these are served in the dining room located in the basement consisting of Breakfast, Packed Lunches and an evening meal, these meals are optional.
The service users do have fridge/freezers and microwave ovens in their rooms if they want to purchase and prepare their own meals.
There is a communal television lounge/games room on the ground floor for the services users.
Also located in the basement is the laundry where the service users can wash, dry and iron their clothing.
The ground floor also has the reception office adjacent to the main door, the manager’s office is annexed to the reception office.
Staff Room is located in Basement along with staff Male & Female rest rooms.