A Sheffield project that turns around the lives of homeless people should be replicated to help prevent crime, the shadow home secretary has said.
Yvette Cooper visited the Cathedral Archer Project, talking to people who use its help, counselling and life skills training to get off the streets.
The Labour MP and shadow cabinet member said: “This is about preventing crime and building strong communities.
“I think when you’ve got the church involved, the community involved, and the whole city pulling together this is exactly the way we should be trying to prevent crime, so yes we want more of this kind of system right across the country.”
Ms Cooper talked to centre users who work in its kitchen, including Jason Shipstone and Michael Lucas, as well as serving meals to diners.
Jason, aged 22, has been homeless since the age of 15 but now hopes to become a chef.
He said: “This place is like a family for me now - there should be more like it.”
Ms Cooper was in South Yorkshire to launch the election campaign of Rev Dr Alan Billings, Labour’s candidate to be the region’s next police and crime commissioner.
Asked if she thought voters would choose the party again after former Labour PCC Shaun Wright stood down in the wake of the Rotherham scandal, she said: “I think this is actually not about politics, it’s about the best person who has got the experience to do the job, and the best way to give a fresh start to South Yorkshire Police.”
Dr Billings said the Archer Project was important in keeping people from anti-social behaviour and crime. He has vowed to give part of his salary, if elected, to charities that support crime victims, as both have been ‘neglected’.
He said: “I’d like to give it to places like the Archer Project and there are others.”