Community comes together to help Crawley charity renovate new premises

A Crawley charity has praised the community for coming together and rallying behind the group after renovations at their new building went horribly wrong.

Homeless charity Giving Back Crawley signed a lease on a new permanent premises in February where they could cook for the homeless community.

Giving Back Crawley - who have provided more than 70,000 meals to homeless people since March last year - brought in the charitable organisation of tradesmen and builders Amazing Trades to help run the project of renovating the inside of the new building.

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Work was going well until it came to the replacement of the flat roof. Chair at Giving Back Crawley, Joe Dines, said they knew that the building needed a new flat roof and that it was going to be quite an expense.

Joe Dines (left) with many of the ‘family’ helping to get the Giving Back Crawley premises ready. Picture by Mark Dunford

But during the work the building was left with no protection from the elements for a long period of time in March and there was a lot of rain, she said.

Joe said: “The whole building got soaked. All the ceilings fell down, all the plastering on the walls had to come off, all the floorboards had to come up.

“We’re basically having to have the whole place rewired completely. It was an enormous amount of money’s worth of damage.

“It has also left us mountains of rubbish and that is costing the charity. You can’t get that done for free because it’s all mixed and contaminated.”

So Joe, in conjunction with Amazing Trades, posted on the Spotted:Crawley Facebook page appealing for any tradespeople to lend a hand, as well as materials and labour.

In response, local businesses - including Wickes, The Electric Centre; Innovation Fire & Security; ALS Fire Protection; Safeguard Europe Ltd; and Michael Stoner Site Management Solutions - rallied to Giving Back Crawley’s aid, providing much-needed materials to get the project back on track.

She said: “We had a fabulous guy called Paul Davis Church at Amazing Trades on board for absolutely ages.

“His team quietly worked in the background to make sure we could use the house safely.

“We went to Dan at Spotted and we used ours and Amazing Trades’ social media to post a big plea that said ‘we need your help’. I can’t even tell you how fantastic these people are that came on board.

"The first was Alan from ALS Fire Protection. He came in and offered us a full fire alarm system and all the fitting. He’s managed to get us an enormous amount of contacts along with Paul.

“Paul got us a donation from Wickes, Alan got us Innovation Fire & Security who put in a whole CCTV and alarm system.

“He walked into the Dulux paint place and got a contact there. We got an application there and they’re providing absolutely everything for the redecorating.

"What we were asking for was the world as far as I was concerned but it’s just rolled and rolled and rolled.”

With the help of the community, the new building now has received damp-proofing and mould treating materials, new cables to replace the faulty wiring, a new CCTV, intruder alarm and fire system, and much-needed input with the planning, compliance and site management. But there is still work to be done.

Joe said: “What we really need at the moment is people that can help with the roof.

“We’re a little stuck and we’re getting worried about that. We’ve got a massive team of plasterers coming in next weekend. They need everything to be watertight and the electrics to be done by then so that they can get on and start plastering.

“It’s a process and we’re getting there. Everyone involved is just amazing and joyful and fabulous so we’re just madly grateful for the help that we’ve had.

“We do still need help and a few more materials and particularly tradesman and skilled people and some labour work. It’s been fantastic. It’s been getting there slowly and you can see what it’ll be.

“We’ve always felt really supported and really loved by the majority of the community.”

Project manager Paul Davis Church added: “We are going to be looking at six weeks for near-enough completion if I’m being realistic.

"Personally, I’d like it done in half the time but the trouble we are having at the moment is just materials. But we’re in a good position.

"The plasterer is coming next week and once they come in, we’ve pretty much got a building that just needs carpeting, painting, and making it look appealing.”