Minister Hilary Armstrong thanks industry charity for help in getting London day centre off the ground.
Housing minister Hilary Armstrong reopened a day centre to help hundreds of London’s homeless on Monday after a four-year modernisation that was supported by about 30 construction firms.

The £800 000 refurbishment of the two adjacent grade II-listed buildings that form the West London Day Centre in Marylebone will help to rehabilitate about 120 homeless people.

The construction industry’s homeless charity CRASH contributed more than £200 000 in cash and in kind, and the contractors, consultants and material suppliers that worked on the project donated both time and financial support.

Materials firms including British Gypsum, Owens Corning, Marley Floors, and Stannah Lift Services donated products, and Rugby Joinery built a vital staircase connecting the two buildings for a “much reduced cost” of £3000.

Other supporters included architect Farrington Dennys Fisher, which produced initial sketches free of charge, and quantity surveyor Lavingtons and structural engineer Watts & Partners worked for reduced fees.

The day centre helps London’s rough sleepers build the skills and self-esteem they need

Hilary Armstrong, Housing Minister

Director Tom Biddlecombe said: ”They were all extremely generous and Wates, the contractor, was brilliant. It delivered the project on time and on budget, and it was always prepared to go the extra mile. When you are converting two ancient listed buildings, you are always going to face serious headaches.” When contractors were installing the last flight of stairs, they found that the supporting wall had insufficient bearing strength. This meant that additional supporting steelwork had to be built.

The modernisation, which has been carried out in conjunction with the Methodist West London Mission that runs the centre, includes the creation of workshops and a computer training area.

The homeless visitors will also be able to receive help from doctors, mental health experts, and advisers on drink and drug problems.