Northampton homeless shelter showing England's World Cup match says these are 'sad times'

The Northampton Hope Centre has thrown open its doors to give people somewhere warm to watch the World Cup.
The Northampton Hope Centre has thrown open its doors to give people somewhere warm to watch the World Cup. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A homeless shelter boss who has flung his doors open to allow people to watch the World Cup in the warm said it was "a very sad time" that charities like his needed to exist.

Alex Copeland said many of the people using the Northampton Hope Centre could not afford to feed themselves, let alone own a television or afford a TV licence.

He said by choosing to screen England's opening match against Iran - which ended in a 6-2 victory for the Three Lions - he hoped everyone would get to share in the feel-good feeling of a World Cup.

"There are a lot of people out there who are really struggling for money. We can create that community feeling here. They might not be able to afford to go down the pub, but they can hopefully afford to come here, get that support, have friends around them and cheer on as part of a community," he said.

"We're bringing that national support together but also the camaraderie of people coming together."

The Hope Centre was first set up 46 years ago to help feed the homeless and has gradually been branching out to tackle poverty, unemployment, loneliness, addiction and trauma as well.

Most recently, it has begun operating as a "warm bank" to give people somewhere to go during the day if they cannot afford to put their heating on.

Mr Copeland said: "It's a very sad time that, in one of the richest countries in the world, one of the greatest developed nations, we have got communities that cannot afford to put the heating on at home, cannot afford to eat.

"If Hope can help to support them, we will. But I really hope, in time, in a couple of years, we don't need a space like this, that people can afford to do it themselves."


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