Letchworth community centre forced to find £5,000 from scratch to pay for flooding damage

Howard Garden

Howard Garden - Credit: Archant

A community centre is being forced to find £5,000 from scratch to pay for damage caused during flash floods earlier this month.

The Howard Garden Social and Day Care Centre – an independent charity which provides companionship, endless activities and support for hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people in North Herts – has been tasked with paying off insurance excess fees, while at the same time finding temporary accommodation and restoring the Letchworth hub back to life.

After an emergency meeting was held on Friday, the group have moved its base for meals to Hamonte on the Jackman’s Estate, but the centre – which is being dried out with humidifiers – might not be back on its feet for months.

Letchworth East district councillor Lorna Kercher, who is chairman of the centre’s trustees, said: “We essentially have to find £5,000 from scratch.

“74 per cent of the money raised for the centre is raised by us, and we were just starting to be self-sufficient until this happened.


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“So many people – from all backgrounds – rely on the centre.

“There is so much going on here that people don’t realise and it is so much more than just a dinner club.

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“But the community have really rallied around us – they have been great.

“St Paul’s Church is housing the table tennis club, the Letchworth Scouts have helped out and, of course, Howard Cottage have provided us with temporary accommodation.

“Spirits are still high at the centre. When the flood damage happened we asked our members whether we should close and it was a resounding ‘no’ from everybody.

“But we need to prevent this from happening in the future by installing doors that can withstand flooding.”

Ken Geggus, who volunteers part-time at the centre, is doing his bit and has raised almost £400 for Howard Gardens ahead of a 100-mile cycle ride in London on Saturday – for the full report, see page 36.

The 72-year-old said: “It’s been very hectic for the last week but we are getting there.”

If you would like to make a donation to the centre, or if you think you can help the team find accommodation for its activities, please email howard.gardens@btconnect.com or call 01462 682524.

Alternatively you can donate to Ken’s charity ride by visiting www.everyclick.com/kensprudential100/info.

Volunteers from the centre will also be taking part in a collection in Letchworth town centre on Saturday, August 15.

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