CRASH and VolkerFitzpatrick provide transformational help for London homelessness charity

Caritas Anchor House (CAH) is a homelessness charity based in the London Borough of Newham. CAH is a beacon of hope in the community and helps over 200 people a year turn their lives around.

The charity is proud to be more than just a roof over the heads of the 140 people who call CAH home. By providing tailored guidance and personal rehabilitation, along with education, employment and community building opportunities, CAH ensures that their residents can grow in confidence and move towards leading independent, self-fulfilling lives.

James McNicholas, Trusts Manager at Caritas Anchor House explained that their large 169 square metre ground floor lounge and social space was no longer fit for purpose:

‘‘The building has been in use since 1963 and parts have fallen into a state of disrepair. The lounge is the heart of the building, its the only communal area and an essential space available for use by any of the 140 residents that we have at any one time. ’’

CRASH Patron VolkerFitzpatrick came to the rescue and led this major transformational project, and fellow Patrons A-Plant, Arcadis, Areen Design, Dulux Trade, Imtech and Knauf worked together to completely transform the space. Many supporting companies also contributed their professional expertise and materials.

The preliminary work included the relocation of the IT suite which had previously taken up a large part of the lounge. Following this, the main construction began and included; a full strip out of all existing fixtures and fittings (including the removal of a dated timber clad wall), supply and installation of a new ceiling, lighting system, much need new flooring, internal doorsets and electrical work (including modifying the emergency lighting, fire alarm, CCTV and small power). This was then followed by redecoration throughout and the supply of new furnishings to not only create a fresh and inspiring new environment but also to zone the space.

The total value of support given by CRASH Patron companies and supporters came to an incredible £135,602. CRASH awarded a £20,000 cash grant bringing the total value of support to £155,602.

Cathy, who lives at Caritas Anchor House, explained that she had been living on the street before she was given a room of her own and couldn’t believe how lovely the new space is. Cathy said she planned to take some photos for her son because she felt so proud that this is her home. 

Amanda Dubarry, Chief Executive at Caritas Anchor House said:

‘‘We are delighted to have opened our newly renovated lounge to the residents. It is designed to be a multi-functional and relaxing space, enabling residents to unwind, build their social networks and most importantly, to feel at home. Weve also recently opened our IT and e-learning suite to support residents to keep connected and continue learning. Were so grateful for the support of CRASH and their Patrons who completed the works and transformed the hub of our building and community.’’

John O’Grady, Divisional Commercial Director at VolkerFitzpatrick said:

‘‘What a fantastic transformation – it is hard to remember what the lounge even looked like before. I hope this place truly does raise the spirits of the people staying here. This is a great project to highlight what CRASH and their patrons can do when they come together, adding true social value!”

Becky Holt, CRASH Marketing and Communications Manager said:

‘‘What a transformation! This project is a superb example of what can be achieved when the industry comes together through CRASH and makes a significant social impact. Huge thanks to CRASH Patron VolkerFitzpatrick for leading the project and to all Patrons and supporters involved. You should feel incredibly proud that you have made a huge difference to hundreds of homeless people who call Caritas Anchor House their home.’’

To see the full gallery of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs, please visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHQFAhE