That first week of work saw amazing progress. We arrived to look round on the Saturday, to be greeted by the owner of the shop next door who was selling wooden chairs at a bargain price. That kind of offer seemed to follow on and on, as did the visitors. In one week, we had more conversations with local people than ever before, demonstrating, if proof were needed, the benefits of this more central location.

Everyone was curious as to what was going to be happening with the building, empty and unused for so long. People who had helped out at coffee mornings run by the Methodist church, people who had got married in that building, people who just wondered what was happening turned up and were shown round the building. Old friends, new friends, church members and their families… it felt like we could hardly keep pace with the streams of people walking through the building. We kept the local shops in business, it seemed, with all our purchases of tea, coffee, milk and sugar, not to mention DIY purchases!

From Monday to Saturday we had at least 15 adults working in the building. We filled holes, removed wallpaper (and plaster!), re-plastered, painted, scrubbed, emptied rubbish, cleared moss off the roof, tidied the carpark area, weeded and transported more rubbish to the dump-it site than we could ever have imagined. If CRT needed proof of volunteer hours, we were going to provide that proof in spades!!