A NEW charity for the homeless opened on Monday

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New Leatherhead drop-in for homeless and vulnerable people has ‘buzzing’ opening

 HERE TO HELP: Volunteers at The Meeting Room, including leader Graham Peddie (far left) RSMD17482

A NEW charity which stepped in to fill the void left by the closure of The Pitstop in Leatherhead had a “buzzing” opening on Monday.

The Meeting Room, set up and operated by Pitstop founder Graham Peddie, has been running in Epsom for the past year, helping homeless, socially isolated and vulnerable individuals.

This week the charity launched its first drop-in centre in Leatherhead, operating from The Mary Frances Trust in The Crescent.

Volunteers served homemade cottage pie and strawberry pavlova to a total of 21 people.

Volunteer Margaret Chilton said afterwards: “It’s good that Graham has been able to open a drop-in centre again in Leatherhead.

“The place was buzzing today, and I look forward to cooking meals again for it. It was sad that The Pitstop found itself homeless after the disastrous floods of Christmas 2013 and I do hope it will not be long before a drop-in centre can be opened every day in Leatherhead.”

Mr Peddie is being supported by experienced volunteers including Gayle Scrivens, formerly of The Pitstop. Everyone is welcome to come along between 11am and 2pm on a Monday. A hot meal is provided free of charge together with companionship and activities.

Volunteers will also be able to assist visitors by directing them to local agencies if they need specific help. On their first day the group were able to assist a homeless man by referring him to the East Surrey Outreach Service to try and help him find somewhere to stay.

Mr Peddie said: “Many of the clients who attend will have complex needs. Our goal is to be there to offer support and friendship. For some change is possible, others may simply be lonely and isolated individuals looking for companionship.”

The Meeting Room is keen to offer activities such as crafts to those who attend on a Monday.

The Pitstop charity shut up shop in August after operating at the Leatherhead United Reformed Church hall for 18 months.

The organisation, which cared for socially isolated people in the Leatherhead area, lost its home in Fetcham Grove in the floods of Christmas 2013 and trustees had been searching for a permanent base ever since.

If you have a craft skill you are happy to share on a voluntary basis email themeetingroom123@gmail.com

Mr Peddie will continue to run the Fetcham Christmas at Fetcham Village Hall. To offer time, food or donated presents call 01372 373803.

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