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Community’s delight at refurbished parish centre in Sandwell

Users of the Holy Name Parish Centre in Great Barr have thanked local housebuilder and refurbishment specialist Lovell who have transformed the toilets and corridor in the Centre with a complete redecoration and brand new fixtures and fittings.

The work was done for free through Sandwell Council’s Hands-on-Help scheme, which sees the Council’s housing refurbishment contractors offering their services to good causes in the communities in which they work.

“The Centre is celebrating its thirtieth birthday this year, so the ladies’ and gents’ toilets were really showing their age,” said Bernadette Kennedy, Secretary of the Centre. “The fixtures and fittings were falling into disrepair and kept breaking, and they were really unsuitable for our older and disabled users. We applied for the work to be done through the Hands-on-Help scheme and were so delighted when we were chosen. Being a not-for-profit organisation, it was hard to see how we could have afforded it otherwise.

“The toilets look fantastic now and I know it will make a huge difference to all our users. The Centre is in almost constant use by local community groups, and parishioners like me who grew up in the Holy Name Parish. The volunteers who help to run the Centre know just how important a part it plays for so many local people.”

Lovell is one of the contractors working on refurbishing council homes in the area. Andy Taylor, Project Manager for Lovell, added:

“When we work in a community – especially for as long as we’ve worked in the borough of Sandwell – we really like to get involved and become a part of it. Being able to help out at the Holy Name Parish Centre has been really rewarding for us and for all the lads who have come along to use their skills over the past seven days for such a great cause. I can see just how much difference this work will make and what it means to the volunteers who run the centre and the people who use it.”

The Holy Name Parish Centre is used for a wide range of community events and groups including: youth group, fitness classes, bingo, Scouts, Brownies, Guides, Rainbows, playgroups and more. A committee of volunteers runs the centre, which is very much part of the daily life and outreach of the Holy Name Parish.

Lovell, Vinci, Wates Living Space and Keepmoat are the four contractors working on the home refurbishments in Sandwell and all partners have signed up to the Hands-on-Help scheme, whereby community projects around the borough benefit from free labour and materials to transform their buildings or surroundings.  Four projects are completed each quarter, and applications from voluntary, community or not-for-profit groups can be made now. Go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/handsonhelp for more details.