Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps recently visited One YMCA’s Welwyn Garden City Hostel to highlight the organisation’s work and learn more about plans to upgrade facilities.

One YMCA’s current Peartree Hostel is reaching the end of its viable life, and although still safe and operational, the cost of refurbishment far exceeds the cost of demolishing the existing building.

A new accommodation solution, which will include 95 self-contained studios, 2 accessible Disability Discrimination Act compliant studios, and a 3-unit cluster flat, will be built on the site of the existing hostel with the aim of doubling the capacity to help homeless people and others in need by 2025.

The total cost of the project is £14.3 million and 87% of the funding has already been secured jointly by Homes England and One YMCA, with support from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

During his visit to the Peartree Hostel Mr Shapps chatted with One YMCA team members, offering to help raise awareness for the project.

Commenting on the visit Mr Shapps said, “the issue of homelessness is one that is close to my heart, having previously been Housing Minister for two and a half years- so it was fantastic to visit today to hear all about the plans One YMCA have for overhauling and improving their hostel on Peartree Lane.

“Places like Peartree play a vital part in supporting those who find themselves without somewhere to live, and the upgraded facility will be able to better serve my constituents who are most in need.

“I’m really looking forward to working with One YMCA in the future.”

Catherine Hook, Associate Director of Housing & Community said of the visit, “we’re very happy Grant was able to come and visit our Welwyn Garden City hostel today where we could lay out how we will be working harder than ever to improve our accommodation so that our teams can continue delivering their life-changing (and life-saving) work for many years to come.

“Grant’s support is very much appreciated, and his visit today helps to highlight just how significant the £14.3 million upgrade project is for some of the most vulnerable in our local community.”

In 2021, One YMCA’s housing team supported a total of 992 vulnerable individuals to escape rough sleeping and homelessness.

One YMCA has served the local community in Hertfordshire for 135 years, and its portfolio of services includes accommodation, housing, practical and emotional support for young asylum seekers, community hubs, childcare provision, support for victims of domestic abuse and their children, and a comprehensive youth service for 11- to 19-year-olds.

One YMCA’s original facility on the Peartree Site, the Peartree Clubhouse, opened in 1927, with a two-storey extension being built behind as a residential boys’ club and hostel in the 1930s.

Over the course of its use, the current building has provided 124 safe and secure spaces each night for those who have found themselves homeless in the Welwyn Garden City area.