Urgent appeal to fix charity's leaky roof

Flooding damage inside Home-Start Hertfordshire's Stevenage office building due to leaky roof

Home-Start Hertfordshire's office building in Stevenage has suffered repeated internal damage and flooding due to a leaking roof - Credit: Courtesy of Suzy Moody

An urgent appeal has been launched to raise £7,000 to repair the roof of a family support charity's headquarters and make the building safe.

Home-Start Hertfordshire, based in Bedwell Park in Stevenage, supports families who have at least one child under the age of five and are struggling for reasons including disability, poverty, mental illness and multiple births.

Home-Start has been supporting vulnerable families in Stevenage since 2005.

Strategic manager Suzy Moody said: "Our team works out of one small office building in Bedwell Park, leased from Stevenage Borough Council. The roof leaks and it often floods when it rains.  Equipment and resources have been ruined and our meeting room has been unusable at times. Despite several patch up jobs over the years, the roof continues to leak.

"Stevenage Borough Council has told us we will have to find around £7,000 to repair the roof to stop the flooding - an amount that would provide support for six families.

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"As we begin to welcome back the families we have been supporting remotely through COVID, we urgently need to make the building safe for the parents and their children, as well as our staff."

Home-Start Hertfordshire has now launched an urgent fundraising appeal, which runs until May 19. Suzy said: "We have always had fantastic support from local businesses and the community, and once again we are asking for support.

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"Please donate so we can make sure our families have somewhere safe to come, at a time when they most need it."

A single mum-of-three, who did not want to be named, said: "Without Home-Start, I just wouldn’t be here. It's as simple as that."

The charity's chairman, Pauline Kellett, said: "Repairing our building has become an urgent priority as we come out of lockdown and our staff, volunteers and families are able to come to the office.

"We have survived the challenges of COVID over the past year and continued to deliver a quality service to many families. We would be very sorry to have to divert funding from family support to roof repairs for this one-off material need."

A Stevenage Borough Council spokesperson said: “We have had  a number of conversations with HomeStart regarding the repair of the roof and,  prior to the launch of its crowdfunding campaign had already agreed to pay for the repairs to be undertaken, which is what will now happen.

“In addition, although it is not part of our required remit, we have also offered  to help find alternative office space for the organisation should it wish to push ahead with ending the tenancy at Bedwell Park.”

To make a donation, visit virginmoneygiving.com/fund/repairtheroof or home-startherts.org.uk

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