Improving our communities – with your support.

Improving our communities – with your support.

Your past generosity has helped us to achieve some major renovations this year.

St Albans Art Studio

The newly refurbished Art Studio had just reopened in spring when lockdown was announced, and we had to close again. But we’re delighted that with the right safety and social distancing measures in place, we’ve been able to open our doors again. And we’re hoping it will stay that way.

‘We’ve got a one-way system,’ explains Alex. ‘When we come in we use the front door, and then we go out through the back door. The different houses come on different days, because we don’t want big groups of people mixing.’

Our St Albans Art Studio has now re-opened - with space to provide socially-distanced workshops.

Our St Albans Art Studio has now re-opened – with space to provide socially-distanced workshops.

Alex is delighted to be back and is hard at work creating Christmas cards. ‘Normally we’d sell them at the Café on the Corner but this year we’re thinking of having an outdoor sale at the front of the Art Studio, when the rules allow,’ he says.

The extended and refurbished Art Studio looks amazing – and Studio Manager Gaspar knows that the improvements have played an important part in being able to reopen. ‘It would have been really difficult to put the social distancing measures in place in the cramped, old Art Studio,’ he explains. ‘The bigger space means we’ve got room for more people and can do more activities.

A new home for Gareth at Croft House

The funds raised in our appeal to refurbish Croft House – the original house at Croft Community – have helped to create a new home for Gareth. He was living in one of our off-site houses in Malton but needed more support. So he’s moved into a new bedroom which we’ve created by reconfiguring the downstairs space.

‘I’m glad I made the move,’ says Gareth. ‘I’ve got lots of friends here and there’s always things to do in this house. We all take turns at cooking for each other,’

Gareth moved in August and is settling in well. But our plans for Croft House haven’t quite reached completion yet.

‘The coronavirus has slowed the work down,’ explains Gareth. ‘So we’re still waiting for a few things, like new carpets.’

Improvements at Croft House have created an extra bedroom – and Gareth is settling in to his new home

Improvements at Croft House have created an extra bedroom – and Gareth is settling in to his new home

The kitchen has been modernised and two bathrooms have already been refitted to make them more accessible. A third downstairs bathroom is due to be updated, and the long-awaited carpets fitted.

‘It’s been tough at times this year, with the work taking longer than planned because of coronavirus,’ says team leader Trace. ‘But everyone who lives here has coped so well, and stayed cheerful and positive – we’ve all supported each other.’

We’re raring to go at Kingfisher Café!

The new and improved Kingfisher Café looks amazing! Thanks to the fantastic generosity of our supporters, the kitchen and front of house areas have been transformed.

‘We’ve got better disabled access now, with an automatic door at the front,’ says Café Manager, Nicola. ‘But it’s the kitchen and staff areas which have seen the biggest changes.’

Kingfisher Café’s back rooms used to be cramped, with steps between different areas and limited natural light.

‘It feels so different now,’ continues Nicola. ‘We’ve got more space, and different work zones – a bakery, a food preparation area, and a washing up area. We’ve had skylights put in so it feels light and airy. We rely less on artificial lighting now, which helps people with sensory processing issues.

The refurbished Kingfisher Café looks amazing – and an accessible kitchen will make it easier to support people with a wider range of needs.

The refurbished Kingfisher Café looks amazing – and an accessible kitchen will make it easier to support people with a wider range of needs.

Adjustable work counters and space for wheelchairs to turn have also been built into the new design. ‘We’ll be able to welcome people in wheelchairs for work experience, which we weren’t able to do before,’ adds Nicola.

Nicola is working with the council to agree when the café can safely re-open in line with the local Covid-19 guidance, and community members are looking forward to getting back to work.

‘Finding my way around the new kitchen will be interesting,’ says Mark who usually works in the café four days a week. ‘And I’m looking forward to trying the new till!’