Local traders have donated their time and materials to build a shower and wet room at Wokingham Salvation Army on Sturges Road for local people in need.
“It’s phenomenal.” Those are the words of Nic Stanton, 25, one of the service users who will benefit from the new facility. “When I was made homeless it was such a struggle with hygiene. I would go days without a shower. It would make you feel a lot lower in your self-esteem for jobs, for accommodation. The shower will give us the opportunity to feel refreshed and more optimistic.”
Work began on the project in summer 2014 after FD Construction Solutions Ltd advertised their services to a local cause in need of help.
Mark Fowles, Managing Director of FD Construction Solutions Ltd said “as a company we feel very blessed in the business the local area has given to us and we wanted to give something back. We’re strong believers that community matters.
“When we reached out, The Salvation Army reached back, and we were delighted to help.”
After months of planning and hard labour the final tiles to the new wet room were laid this week. The wet room was officially opened on Thursday 26th March at a reception attended by around 50 people.
The facility has full disabled access to a toilet, shower and hand basin with floor-to-ceiling tiles, a new window, spot lights and a baby changing unit.
Mark is thrilled with the results. “Working with The Salvation Army to make a positive impact to our community has offered a sense of purpose and achievement unlike any other!”
Church leader Lieutenant Nicola Muir said “We are so excited about how our ministry can develop now we have such a fantastic facility here in our church and community centre. The only washing facility we had was a hand basin, now people can have a proper shower.
“I just want to say the biggest thank you to all the workers and volunteers who have made the project such a success. This really has been a collaborative effort.”
Wokingham Lions, who instigated the initial drive of getting other companies to gift parts and time, contacted Audrey Meek from PTS Plumbing Trade Supplies who has worked with Mark and brought BSW Building Services Ltd and other local companies on board.
Wokingham Salvation Army currently runs community outreach on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for local people in need or experiencing homelessness. The drop-in service includes a meal, social activities, advice and support as well as access to a washing machine and tumble dryer.
Nic Stanton started attending The Salvation Army eight months ago after he was made street homeless. “I had an argument with my mum, was kicked out, started sleeping at a friend’s house but ended up having to live on the streets.
“The Salvation Army supported me even though I was a stranger. It was unreal. They gave me supplies and met my immediate needs. They are like a second family. They provide comfort on every level.”
Currently living at Seaford Court, a young people’s hostel for 16 to 25 year olds, Nic is excited about his future. “There’s now a possibility I will be going to college to study media. The Salvation Army has given me hope.”
The community programme at The Salvation Army is supported by a number of Wokingham churches and organisations including Wokingham Lions. A new committee has been formed to develop these services further in efforts to better meet the needs of the local community. The wet room, therefore, is part of an ongoing project.
The team of local companies who worked with FD Construction and offered their services and supplies at discounted rates (and sometimes free of charge) included PTS Plumbing Trade Supplies, BSW Building Services Ltd, Izod Designs, Wilson Electrical, Tile Depot and Ideal Heating.