CALLING all local tradesmen, businesses and residents with DIY skills – Chad charity needs you!
Bosses at disabled children’s charity, A Place to Call Our Own (APTCOO), are issuing a call to arms – or should that be tools – to the communities of Mansfield, Ashfield and beyond to help give their somewhat shabby premises a much-needed sprucing up.
The charity will close the doors of its Botany Park headquarters in Mansfield for two weeks from 2nd July for improvement works to be carried out to a variety of areas including its kitchen, toilets and reception area.
It will then re-open in time for a full programme of activities for disabled children and their families over the school summer holidays.
Said Carol Burkitt, chief executive officer at the charity: “We have a new three-year contract on the building and we want to call an APTCOO DIY SOS.
“We want to put out a big call to local businesses, tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts to volunteer their time and come and help us.
“Anyone who is interested should come and have a look at the place and the plans.”
APTCOO’s kitchen is one of the highest priority areas for a makeover because in its present form it does not allow the charity to offer what it wants to be able to offer to its service users.
The aim is to create a kitchen that can be used to make healthy food and snacks in a cafeteria-style environment, as well as provide suitable facilities for training people in food-related qualifications.
But the present facilities do not allow for this because of the inadequate storage space and cooking equipment.
They are appealing for donations of new units, white goods such as a dishwasher, fridge and washing machine, a cooker, and the skills to help fit all of these things.
“We are not looking for expensive, top spec stuff,” said Carol.
“We are looking for last year’s models, ex-demo stuff. We don’t mind if it’s got a little scratch as long as it’s fit for purpose.”
Doing up the toilets is another job at the top of the list.
The current toilets are in a terrible state and, although they are compliant with disability access laws, they leave much to be desired for users.
APTCOO hopes that people will come forward to help upgrade the toilets, including installing a shower and wash facilities and putting in a new changing area that is more comfortable for both the children and parents and carers who use it.
“We need better disabled facilities,” said Carol.
“They need to reflect the needs of our service users.”
Other jobs that are included in the DIY SOS plans are to have a more efficient and reliable boiler fitted and child-friendly floor coverings put in, as well as adapting existing spaces into more suitable multi-functional areas.
“The plans include the makeover of a large space into smaller areas tailored to specific needs,” said Carol. “For example an art corner or a teen area.”
They also want to transform under-used rooms into more viable spaces - with one ambitious idea being to turn the meeting room into an IT training suite that parents and carers will be able to use.
Carol added: “We want to develop existing services at APTCOO and will be looking to provide training courses for young people, parents, carers and volunteers, working towards supported employment opportunities.
“The courses would be in things like, IT, catering, food hygiene and confidence building.
“It’s about developing the whole family and moving the young people from ‘I have a disability, I can’t’ to ‘I have a disability but look what I can do’.”
She added: “If you can spare some time and or resources to support this local, community-based service, please contact or call into APTCOO to have a look at what we do and the job in hand.
“This is an exciting year for APTCOO and anybody supporting this needy cause will see the benefits and feel the rewards of working together to improve A Place To Call Our Own.”
l Anybody who thinks they can help should call Carol on Mansfield 629902 or email email@example.com.