Unity House in Chippenham is celebrating after its first year of providing services to homeless people in the area, and staff members are appealing for volunteers.

The Westlea-owned hostel on Wood Street provides a short-term shelter for those who are homeless or who are threatened with homelessness, aged 16 and over.

There is room for 15 adults in the main building, and five aged 16 or 17 in a separate upstairs floor, with one room dedicated to the disabled.

Project leader Ben Anderson said: “Our statistics are very good.

“We have had 61 people coming through the doors in a year. Of these, 40 have moved through, and 28 are now living in independent accommodation.

“Our main aim here is to get as many people living with some stability as we can. We want to put a roof over their heads and provide them with security at a time when many are very vulnerable.”

As well as the central hostel, Unity House has adjacent property used for service users who are able to live more independently.

Homelessness manager Sarah Ward said: “Our job is to provide support.

“As well as the immediate problem of homelessness, particularly at this time of year, we want to give people the chance to take control of their lives by providing support in finding a job, or arranging counselling.

“Local councils must provide shelter for homeless people when the temperature drops below zero for three nights in a row, so we have airbeds in one of the rooms for up to five people.”

Terry Carr, 50, has been living at Unity House since March after being homeless for two months.

He said: “This has been an extremely positive and beneficial experience for me.”

Mr Carr was offered other hostel options, but decided to stay in Chippenham to be near his step-children.

He said: “I had to leave that home because I had a problem with alcohol and the only solution we could see was that I move out.

“I didn’t want to be apart from the kids, so I slept in doorways and in the woods.”

Another service user is wheelchair user Sean Roff, 38, who is keen to get back into work after a period of homelessness in Salisbury.

He said: “A lot of people have misconceptions about Unity House. I’ve heard people saying that’s where the alcoholics and the druggies live, but I don’t drink often at all and I never take drugs. I’m really keen to get back into work. Staff here have been great at helping me to develop my skills.”