We'd like to say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who supported the appeal to equip our new Rugby Refurbishment Centre. The building was handed over to us on 22nd August, and we've been busy ever since.
The first two weeks after being given the keys involved staff from Ipswich and Rugby, along with some amazing volunteers, working flat out to equip the building for service. This included everything laying carpets, putting together office furniture and racking, and even installing the full electrics in the building.
We had a wonderful weekend at the beginning of September, beginning with a Volunteer Open Day on Saturday and a Commissioning and Dedication Service on Sunday. The work for this weekend had started many months before. Nigel and the Coventry Centre volunteers held a week-long exhibition in the Rugby shopping centre.
With the help of the local volunteer bureau, churches, community groups, and local businesses, lots of people were able to find out about our open days which promised to be a great success.
On the Saturday, we welcomed local dignitaries, business leaders, church leaders, and members of the community into our building. We had tours, a cafe, and a 'next steps' area for people thinking of volunteering with us. It was a fantastic day and really established us in Rugby.
On the Sunday, the Comissioning and Dedication Service was particularly moving. We recognised God's goodness in supporting our small chairty through the years of the pandemic, enabling us to grow when many charities were just surviving.
We are grateful to Andrew Scotland (Pastor of New Life Church) and Alan Hulm (Vicar of St Matthew's and St Oswald's) who spoke and led prayers of dedication. The service was held simulataneously in Ipswich, linked via Zoom. In Ipswich, Archdeacon Rhiannon King led prayers. New Life Church's music group came to our Rugby centre, and Battisford Free Church's came to Ipswich.
Without the staff and volunteers, it would look nowhere near as amazing as it currently does. We are so grateful to have Nigel Hyde, the centre manager, and Caleb Scotland, the centre apprentice, with us. Several volunteers are coming with us from the former site in Coventry, which recently closed, and many more will join us in Rugby.
We first visited the building nearly nine months ago, and we are so thrilled to finally be at this stage. Every penny donated to the appeal has been used to equip the building, along with some incredibly generous donations of furniture, workbenches, and equipment from Collecteco. They work with companies who are closing down or revamping their premises, preventing their old equipment from being thrown away.
We're now building up to full operations as more and more volunteers join us. We hope it won't be too long before the first container leaves for Africa.
Once again, thank you to everyone for your financial support, prayers and encouragement, and to all our volunteers.