We have officially opened our new home, Hudson House.

This year, we are also celebrating DASH’s 45th anniversary. This is the first time we have occupied our own premises – and it has only taken 45 years to get here!

30 invited guests helped us celebrate the opening including the right Worshipful the Mayor and the Mayoress of Durham. The Mayor, Councillor Bill Kellett, started our celebration with a few words of welcome to everyone.

Then, Peter Smith (pictured left), Head of Partnerships from Homeless Link, spoke about current issues impacting on homelessness today, and explained how working with organisations like DASH helps to inform Government decisions on funding and changes to provision for homeless people. Peter’s full speech can be read here

DASH chose to rename our new HQ ‘Hudson House’ as a tribute to the memory of John Hudson, who was a founding member of DASH when it began as Durham Cyrenians, back in 1972. The Chair of the DASH Management Committee, Madeleine Ashdown, gave a tribute to John and asked John’s wife, Pat (pictured second from right, below), to open our new HQ.

For many years John held office as Chair of Shincliffe Parish Council and Chair of the Board of Governors at Trinity School, now Trinity School and Sports College.

Madeleine (pictured right, second from left with Pat Hudson and the Mayor and Mayoress of Durham) knew John best as a fellow advice worker at Durham Citizens Advice Bureau and as a Board member of DASH. It was while Madeleine was working at Citizens Advice that John asked her if she would join the Board of DASH. As a Board member, his participation and contributions were highly valued; his opinions were always well-considered, knowledgeable and fair. He was particularly interested in encouraging interaction between Board members and our service users, to prevent Board members from becoming detached from the people we are trying to help. John was a valued and hard-working Board member of DASH until he sadly passed away in 2012. He is very much missed.

In her address Madeleine thanked our staff, our Board members, our volunteers and our service users, some of whom have moved on to become volunteers and staff members at DASH, and many who express their appreciation for the help DASH provides at a difficult time in their lives.

Madeleine also thanked the design and construction team responsible for converting the former pub into office accommodation – Ashdown Architects, Lumsdon Wood (quantity surveyors) and Sunters Construction.

She gave special thanks to Durham County Council Commissioners, for their continued financial support and guidance and finally she thanked all our supporters and partners, too numerous to mention individually, who help us in so many different ways.