St Albans homeless street cafe temporarily closed
PUBLISHED: 09:16 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 27 June 2019
A violent incident has prompted a St Albans charity to temporarily close its evening service.
Centre 33, a street café in Spicer Street run completely by volunteers, is usually open for food for breakfast and evening meals but has halted the later service following an assault.
A sign outside reads: "In response to an incident outside Centre 33 we will be closed in the evenings until Monday 1st July. Centre 33 will open in the evenings again next week."
On Monday, June 24 a woman was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm against a man at around 8:30pm just outside the centre.
A man was taken to hospital with what the police described as non-life threatening injuries. The woman has since been released under investigation.
The service is used by homeless people and others who rely on it for food, showers and sometimes clothing.
Visitors come from a variety of backgrounds - some are rough-sleepers, some are people living in temporary accommodation, and others are just people just looking for a place to be sociable.
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Service users responded to the closure. Lorraine Clarkson said: "I am starving now it's shut in the evenings.
"I can understand why it has closed, but Centre 33 is a life-saver. The volunteers and the most decent people - they put up with too much from us sometimes."
Rosie Gurnet, 19, said: "If we lost Centre 33, I would have nowhere to eat."
Mitchell, a guest of the centre, added: "It's a place of safety and security."
Other guests told us how important the place is to them and how much they value the volunteers giving up their time to cook for them.
Trustee of Centre 33 Peter Graham said: "Generally the behaviour of our visitors is very good
" There has, more recently, been a number of problems caused by poor behaviour, usually from people under the influence of alcohol.
"The Centre been closed for four evenings due to this and the incident that was dealt with by the police. We have taken this action to demonstrate to visitors that this behaviour is unacceptable."
For more information about Centre 33 visit www.centre33.org
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