'Wild Goose' homeless drop-in centre reopens in Bristol after £150,000 makeover

Clients get a lot more than a meal at the Wild Goose - they get help and support and even a shower if they want one. Credit: inHope

A drop-in service for homeless people in Bristol has reopened after a £150,000 refurbishment.

Wild Goose first opened on Stapleton Road in 2010 and since then has helped 10,000 people and served one million hot meals.

Ten years on, the Wild Goose needed some tender loving care itself. Jobs included repainting, replacing a floor, dealing with damp, overhauling the toilet and re-rendering the front of the building. A new CCTV system provided for free by Astra, a local security company, has also been installed.

InHope, the charity which runs the service, raised the money through a major fundraising campaign and the work took eight months.

Staff and volunteers operated a takeaway service from the chapel next door while the refurbishment was taking place. Credit: inHope

During the work, a ‘pop-up Goose’ ran from the neighbouring Stapleton Road Chapel. Staff and volunteers provided a hot meal, a drink and a takeaway bag for up to 100 people per day in need of a meal throughout the pandemic.

Now the work is complete, that takeaway door service has reverted to the Wild Goose. It is hoped a full service will be able to resume once Covid-19 restrictions have lifted.

Before lockdown, the drop-in was open four days and six evenings a week, offering hot meals, bathroom and shower facilities, clothing, and other essential practical help, along with support in accessing other services.

The Wild Goose will be able to continue to help hundreds of homeless people thanks to the makeover. Credit: inHope

Mick Connolly, Manager of the Wild Goose drop-in, said: "The new improved facilities will allow staff, volunteer teams and visiting partner agencies to provide a more targeted and tailored approach for our service users.

"The new configuration will support a safe, friendly and psychologically informed environment that is open-planned with a fresh and inviting kitchen, café area, and an accessible wet room."

One of the regular clients at the Wild Goose during the pandemic said: “The Wild Goose provides a wonderful service to all in need of daily sustenance. The staff are always happy, smiling and are very approachable to whatever the client discusses.

"With the forthcoming opening of their refurbished drop-in, it is expected that the Wild Goose will be able to offer additional facilities for the client." Find out more about the inHope charity here .