We are still a relatively new, small, local charity – we have been in existence for nearly ten years serving the people of Lancashire and the Daneshouse and Stoneyholme areas of Burnley in particular. Over this time we have been accommodated in a growing number of shipping containers, three at present. They have served an objective but are hardly fit for continuing use. Which is why we have launched an appeal to replace the present temporary structures with a purpose built Eco Hut, and for this we need your help.
We will have provided services for circa 1,000 people this year, predominantly through our March Street site. As we as a charity have become more successful in raising money for our services the provision has expanded. For example, this year we will have provided free children’s activities under the ‘Get Grubby’ scheme for 166 different children. These activities run in school holidays, they are enjoyed immensely. Imad Ismail has said of Get Grubby:
“First of all, I was a member of the Get Grubby club, which takes place every half term holiday. I started in 2014, I would go frequently, every half term I think. The club itself was fun and with the help of the staff, though I didn’t realise it at the time, it enabled me to become much more confident, as we would do group activities and generally just engaging in fun we had. When I started at the club I was one not to engage and wouldn’t get involved in group activities, I was the one at the back who didn’t really want to speak up. The grubby club was a very successful start for me as I got to know new people and the staff at the club were absolutely amazing, always there to help.”
When the weather is unsuitable for outside activities we have one room that we can use, when it’s not being used as a training or meeting room. We also have one toilet on site that has to serve everyone. It’s far from ideal when on some days we have around about a hundred people on site.
(photos of grey cabin, and toilet facilities)
Our volunteers have to use the one toilet as a changing room, or alternatively use the ‘Workshop space’, which in reality is a brew room, changing room, workshop and storage space, and shelter for the most inclement weather. We work alongside circa 80 regular volunteers.
(photo of workshop)
Jason, one of our workers who progressed through being a volunteer, to a Peer-to-Peer worker and who is now a member of staff said “Having a kitchen would be a God-send!”. “Don’t get me wrong, in the small kitchen it’s possible to cook a meal, but it’s so small only one person can do anything at a time, then if there is more than nine people volunteering there is no place to eat in the dry, never mind to sit down whilst you’re eating.”
(photo of kitchen)
The office where we run our activities from also present challenges, there are four desks for ten people, with one small window. Still this is a relatively minor problem compared to the other spatial constraints.
(photo of office)
So what we have planned to address these needs, as well as enable us to consolidate and expand our provisions is an Eco Hut. A sustainable single-storey wooden structure of approximately 2,000 square feet that will contain the following:
• A meeting room / training room that will enable year round, all-weather activity, including community meetings and horticulture training etc.
• A workshop area including space for traditional craft making, safe tool storage and maintenance;
• A teaching kitchen, essential to support the delivery of “Chop, Cook and Eat” sessions focused around enabling individuals to learn about healthy food and how to prepare it in enjoyable, economical ways;
• A small office area / secondary meeting room that enables the ongoing operation of year round activities; noting this act as central co-ordination hub for all sites of operation.
• Male, female and disabled toilets, noting currently we only have one toilet on site an unsuitable situation.
• A clean room / prayer facilities noting this specific request from the Islamic Community to enable all day activities.
What you can do to help
One of the simple things that people can do to help us achieve our fundraising target is to vote for us in the Aviva Community Fund. Each person has 10 votes to register. We would need hundreds of people voting in order for us to have a chance of getting up to £25,000 towards our total. If we can vote for The Eco Hut before the 19th of November and encourage our friends and family to vote too, we might just have a chance.
We also have donation buttons on the bottom of every website page if you are able to make a direct contribution.
Hopefully our fundraising, with your help, will be successful and finally people will have a decent built environment to compliment the amazing work they do in maintaining outside spaces.