Charity faces a cut in funds

Tucking in: the Tuesday lunch at St Augustine's is always popular
Tucking in: the Tuesday lunch at St Augustine's is always popular

A CHARITY helping families and refugees in Halifax is seeing a huge increase in numbers as the recession starts to bite.

Volunteers at St Augustine’s Centre in Hanson Lane say more people have been using their services since the credit crunch began.

But Government spending cuts could mean they face having to help more people with less cash.

Denise Keenan, the centre’s manager, said: “Funding is a problem and people are feeling the squeeze already.

“You can see the difference in the number of people coming through the door.”

The centre’s lunchtime drop-in sessions used to attract between 40 and 50 people, but lately that number has been more like 60 to 70.

The centre has been helping families, migrants and refugees for three decades and has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Between 500 and 600 people go there every week for its services, which include English classes and other education, a nursery, advice on finding work and housing, and cooking and sewing classes.

“Everyone is welcome here,” said Mrs Keenan.

Among those using the centre is 36-year-old Daenaua Doumbouya, from Guinea in West Africa,

She came to England five years ago and said: “Some people don’t have support when they come to a new country so it’s good that they can come here.”

Mary Fiotella, originally from Sri Lanka, came to Halifax 10 years ago.

She said: “The centre has helped me with my English, reading and writing, and to make friends.”

The centre is always looking for volunteers and donations.

Anyone who can help should call 01422 352492.

A fund-raising ceilidh is being held on Saturday February 26 at 7.30pm at Pellon Social Club in Moor End Road, Halifax. For tickets call the centre.