Charity on course to assist record numbers

  • Great year: Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity Bermuda, is delighted with progress (File photograph)

    Great year: Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity Bermuda, is delighted with progress (File photograph)

A team of hard-working volunteers is on track for a record-breaking year of helping families.

Habitat for Humanity Bermuda has already completed ten projects assisting people in need of repairs and adaptations to their homes.

The charity’s total for 2017 was 16, making it a “blockbuster” as the annual target for renovation programmes is only 12.

Sheelagh Cooper, the charity’s chairwoman, said: “At the half-year mark, we were on track to break last year’s record.”

She added: “Many people don’t realise that Habitat Bermuda operates solely in Bermuda and all of our projects are local.

“We have been in operation for 18 years and have completed projects and improved housing for more than 350 family members.

“Our typical project includes a family or often multiple families living in what can often be described as derelict conditions not through any fault of their own but because they simply cannot afford the cost of repairs.

“These are most often roof repairs, windows, doors and almost always ceilings and floors.”

She was speaking as the charity is set to launch a fresh appeal for donations.

Ms Cooper explained: “Almost all of our work is pro bono and although we have great support from the building supply companies and architectural firms, the cost of the specialised labour such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical work and masonry can be enormous.”

She said, as an all-volunteer organisation with no paid staff, the only cost was for skilled labour, which meant that every cent raised goes towards repairs to people’s homes.

Ms Cooper added: “This is why this new fundraising campaign is so important.

“We currently have five families on our waiting list for help and with no government funding, we are entirely dependent on the generosity of companies and individuals to continue this important work.”

The Bermuda arm of Habitat was launched in 2000 by former US President Jimmy Carter, a supporter of the worldwide charity since the 1980s.

The Royal Gazette has previously reported on the work of the charity, and the gratitude of people it has helped.

One woman said: “I get emotional talking about it — I really appreciated what they did for me.”

The woman added after she lost her mother and was made redundant from her job, she had endured “one thing after another”.

A friend suggested she contact Habitat for Humanity as she had struggled with funeral expenses and the cost of children in college.

The woman said: “It came out of the blue. They came down here and the work on my roof was done in three days. They painted outside too.

“Now my house looks really nice. The experience was overwhelming.”

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Published Aug 7, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 6, 2018 at 10:20 pm)

Charity on course to assist record numbers

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