Music superstar Joe McElderry has launched an exciting new Centrepoint hostel on Dundas Street in Sunderland.
After winning the X-Factor in 2009, South Shields-born Joe McElderry went on to win first place in the ITV series Pop Star to Opera Star. In an illustration of his commitment to his home city of Newcastle, Joe joined a healthy eating workshop in the training kitchen of the Dundas Street site, which was officially opened by members of Sunderland City Council.
Joe McElderry said:
“The Dundas Street hostel is an incredible environment for these young people. They have the independence you need when you’re 16-25 but the support is there for them 24-hours a day too, and that’s so important.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had an amazing upbringing, but I really relate to these guys. In different circumstances it could have been me needing Centrepoint’s support.”
The £1.3 million hostel has incorporated 18 apartments with self-contained wet rooms and shared kitchens. Additional features include computer rooms, interview rooms and a ground floor training kitchen and reception area.
A state-of-the-art multimedia suite will help some of the most vulnerable people from across the region to access education and employment, enabling them to learn essential skills that will prepare them for independent living.
External works have included the creation of a 7-space car park and landscaping to the rear.
Peter Elliott, Gentoo Construction, said:
“This was a challenging project as we were working on a three-storey building on a very tight, self-contained site. Indeed, there was a bus lane running next to us and a Chinese church located on the site. As a result, we had to adapt the site to incorporate the forklifts and cantilever the scaffolding so that the construction phase did not disrupt the surrounding land.
“However, despite this challenge the project progressed extremely well and it was completed on programme. This was due in no small part to the excellent working relationship that we formed with the client, who was helpful and cooperative throughout the project.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to work on this project. The new hostel has created high quality, safe living spaces for young people in need, which is immensely rewarding. Seeing the youngsters’ faces was icing on the cake and made all of the hard work worthwhile.”
Centre point is the leading charity for homeless young people aged 16-25 and the organisation works with over 1,200 young people in the north east and London every year. The new hostel is Centrepoint’s first purpose-built service in the north east and replaces the charity’s previous hostel on Mowbray Road, which had become dilapidated and had limited facilities.
Martin Gill, Centrepoint’s North East Regional Manager, said:
“The young people were absolutely astonished after seeing it for the first time. Dundas Street is so well designed that after being at the old service for the last three years, there is no comparison. It’s tremendous for the learning environment that we’re looking to promote.”