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A BIG Thank you!

By Trustee Annie Waddington-Feather


What a difference a bit of space makes

The move to our new premises has given us a lot of space – and we’re very good at filling it!


It’s been just over two months since we’ve moved to 32 Castle Foregate, and our amazing team of staff and volunteers have worked hard to create a calming community hub, where people are welcomed and the chaos in their lives is left at the front door.


The Ark is a place where trust continues to be built, and people are supported and given opportunities to make positive changes in their lives.



More space means access to more services and activities

Everyone who comes through our door is an individual who has faced different challenges in their lives, and they need different levels, and types of support. The increased space enables us to host more partner organisations to provide their services within our building, where people feel safe and secure, and not intimidated.


For instance, as well as our GP clinics and mental health support sessions, we’re really pleased a drug and alcohol recovery support worker can hold sessions on site too.


We are also starting to offer wrap around care for people experiencing rough sleeping, as well as literacy sessions, creative writing, sculpture and art activities.

Every day is different

While we generally serve over 50 hot breakfasts and lunches, and the washing machines and driers are constantly going, each day offers different activities and support services.


For instance, on Tuesday 27 April activities, health and support sessions included:

· a Heptology Clinic with Sister Jeannie Williams from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

· testing clients for hepatitis in partnership with The Hepatitis C Trust – if anyone tests positive, we support them with their ongoing treatment

· day 2 of the Intuitive Recovery course, an accredited abstinence program that gives people the tools to say NO to drinks, drugs, or gambling, happily and with confidence

· individual trauma intervention sessions delivered by SALUTE

· art & craft classes led by volunteers and other clients

Plus, as we head towards the warmer months, we’re getting out in our allotment, and we’ve started up football training too!


Thank you

All of this, (and lots more), is made possible because we have the physical space to offer different engagement activities, and we are eternally grateful for the amazing support of the community, local businesses, organisations and individuals, who helped to make this happen.


With the building needing a massive refurb and testing to ensure compliancy with the latest health and safety regulations, our costs so far are around £100,000 including VAT. Here are just some of the larger expenses:


· Replace two gas boilers and hot water cylinder: £9,000

· Install laundry, toilets and shower (including Accessible facilities): £15,000

· Kitchen refurbishment: £8,500

· Fire alarm: £6,000 (plus £12,000 on other necessary fire proofing standards, such as doors and flooring)

· Full electric re-wire and compliance testing: £20,000

· Secure door locks throughout: £3,500

· Window repairs: £1,500

· CCTV: £2,200

· Additional door entry security £1,500

· Paint: £1,000


There is more to be done too!


Thank you to everyone for choosing to support us.


We wanted to take this opportunity to specifically thank those GRANT MAKING ORGANISATIONS who contributed financially towards our appeal for funding to support the interior refurbishment of our new home:


· Greenhall Foundation

· Shropshire Masonic Lodge

· National Masonic Foundation

· Wilfred Owen School

· Westcroft

· Beatrice Laing Family Trust

· National Lottery Awards For All

· Persimmon Homes

· Arnold Clark

· Albert Hunt

· Bernard Sunley

· Jenkins Family Trust

· Fine & Country Estate Agents

· Ariva Community Fund

· Westcroft

· Bradbury


We spend time within our Ark team researching, writing to, and completing application forms to secure grant income and are delighted to have had successes that helped us to complete the internal work needed to turn a public house into our new home.


Ongoing costs

While we’ve done the big stuff to ensure we can function, and we’re safe and compliant, there are some more renovations to do.


Plus, with a much larger premises, and utility bills on the rise, our overheads have vastly increased.


If you want to contribute to helping make positive changes to people’s lives, you can do so by:

  • Donating to our #BuildTheArk via our gofundme page here.

  • Shopping online via the Give as you Live shopping platform: More information and sign-up details here.

  • Volunteering - whether it’s working in the kitchen, supporting people, helping with the filing or organising a fundraiser, find out how you can volunteer with us here

  • Give us a shout out and follow us on social media - we’re active on Twitter and Facebook.

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