TRIBUTES have been paid to the founder of Worksop charity HOPE for Homeless who lost a long-running battle with cancer this month.
Sharon Kitchen, 54, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at Bassetlaw Hospice in the early hours of 14th December.
This week devoted husband James paid tribute to his “inspirational” wife who had been instrumental in taking HOPE from small beginnings to the expanding charity it is today.
“It’s unbelievable what Sharon achieved. HOPE started our from nothing and it has expanded so much,” he said.
“The charity meant everything to her. She was very kind and caring and passionate about helping the under-privileged and those in need.”
Sharon began working as a volunteer for HOPE (Homeless Organisation Providing Essentials) in 1992 after realising there was a great need for homeless support in Bassetlaw.
Together with a dedicated team of volunteers, Sharon worked hard as project manager to set up an office helping clients - many who had drug, alcohol and mental health issues - to find appropriate accommodation.
In 1996, demand for HOPE’s work had increased so much the organisation officially gained charitable status, moving to bigger premises on 124 Bridge Street.
Re-named as HOPE for the Homeless, the charity continued to expand with a drop in centre opening between 2000-2001.
Sharon managed the opening of the emergency accommodation unit in 2007 and went on to oversee the opening of the move on accommodation, ending up managing 32 units in total.
Chief executive Sandy Smith said Sharon’s death was a great loss to HOPE and Bassetlaw’s wider community.
“Sharon was always dedicated to helping homeless people, she had a real empathy and a determination to give people a fresh start,” she said.
“She was well respected by the staff and clients but didn’t take any nonsense, she believed everyone should have a second chance and often the clients would respond to her positive attitude.”
Sharon also leaves her son Andrew and daughter Amelia.
Her funeral will be held at St John’s Church at 10am in Carlton on Friday 23rd December, folllowed by burial at Hannah Park.