A CHARITY has found a new home in Northwich amid a surge in demand for its services.

The Chester, Halton and Warrington Race and Equality Centre (CHAWREC) has moved into the Very Green Grocery on Manchester Road.

The charity has been running English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes in the town for several years but now has a place to call its own.

Shantele Sutherland, director of CHAWREC, said: “We are really excited to have a new base in Northwich with Changing Lives Together at their Very Green Grocery venue.

“We have been running our ESOL classes in Northwich at different venues across the area and its great to now have somewhere we can call home.

“Changing Lives Together shares our ethos, so we are looking forward to working more closely with them.

“We are sure that our students will also enjoy the on-site café they have too.”

Rachel Waterman, head of development at Changing Lives Together, added: “We are delighted to support CHAWREC by giving them a base to provide their services,

“We are lucky to have a friendly, welcoming, community here in Northwich and we are so pleased to be working with CHAWREC.”

At its other base in Chester, CHAWREC offers help with immigration casework as well as organising community engagement events and health promotion with black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

It is hoped that this new venue will allow CHAWREC to bring these services to Northwich.

This comes as the charity experiences a surge in demand for its services.

Ms Sutherland added: “In time we are hoping that having a permanent space in Northwich will allow us in time to offer other services, such as our immigration advice service, health support for BAME communities and support for those seeking asylum.

“We recognise the changing demographics in the area and the demand in Northwich for our services has increased hugely over the last few years. We hope that this will go some way to addressing the need.”

Last year, the government set out to clear the backlog of asylum applications.

However, those granted refugee status were often not left with enough notice to find somewhere else to stay when asked to move on asylum accommodation.

“It’s a problem everywhere, the government commitment to clearing the backlog of asylum claims has put a massive strain on an already stretched housing situation,” Ms Sutherland said.

“Refugees are being granted status and then can’t get housing and local authorities are struggling to keep up.”