Bedford Rotarians decorate new home of former rough-sleeper

Socially distanced decorators

Members of the Rotary Club of Bedford Park rolled up their sleeves last week to help SMART CJS prepare a home for a previously homeless rough sleeper.

Rotarians Les, Nigel, David, Mark, David R and Ron donned their painting clothes and helped get the home prepared for its new resident, a lady who has been a beneficiary of SMART Prebend Centre’s wraparound support.

“This story is amazing as the lady had been rough sleeping since 2007 and had a young toddler,” said Anita McCallum, SMART CJS CEO.

“This meant that when this came to light, she was a priority to find more stable housing.”

SMART CJS worked with Bedford Borough Council & BPHA (who provided the flat) and volunteers from the Rotary Club of Bedford Park kindly provided the people power for the mammoth task of painting the flat.

It took three days to complete and they also helped out with carpet, furnishings and cleared the very overgrown garden so her child has somewhere to play.

Rotary Club
The Rotarians getting to grips with the garden

The proud new occupier of the freshly-painted property said, “I am overwhelmed by such kindness and the generosity of total strangers who gave up their valuable time to help me and my child have a home.

“We feel safe and happy and are looking forward to our future together.”

“Our Rotary club had taken an interest in the needs of the homeless even before Covid-19 struck,” said Les Evans, chairman of the community and vocation committee at the Rotary Club of Bedford Park.

“We have enormous respect for the great work carried out by SMART both at its Prebend Street day centre and also around the town on a daily basis.

“We were delighted to be able to assist in decorating a small property and sourcing carpets (kindly gifted by a local carpet supplier) for one of their clients to enable her to set up a new home with her baby.

“The homeless have urgent needs and, as we have learned from our involvement with SMART, have found themselves in this invidious position for a great variety of reasons. We will continue to do what we can to assist SMART and their clients.”

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