"The room gets warm within minutes!" say Guide leaders Paula Adams, Julie Tanner and Cath Keitley (left to right), voicing their approval of the new wall heaters installed at Littleworth Guide Hut as part of the 'We Love Littleworth' project. Also pictured, Robert Hine of Sustainability Matters.
"It's amazing!" is the verdict of leaders from Stafford Division Guides after the installation of new wall-mounted heaters in the Littleworth Guide Hut. The heaters were financed by a grant of £2000 from Stafford Borough Council as part of the 'We Love Littleworth' project to improve the well-being and environment of people in the Littleworth area of Stafford.
The Guide Hut situated in the grounds of St John's Church is home to active units of Rainbows, Guides and Rangers, and was originally used as a classroom as part of St John's Primary School, which moved to a new site along the Weston Road many years ago. An energy audit commissioned as part of the 'We Love Littleworth' project revealed significant problems with the largely timber construction, notably the minimal level of insulation and inadequate heating system. And this was confirmed by the users of the building, who often found it impossible to warm the interior to a comfortable level, especially in the depths of winter.
The new wall-mounted panel heaters have inbuilt programmable timers,
allowing automatic switching on and off at predetermined times.
Because of the building's age and infrequent use - on average about 7.5 hours a week - it was decided that the most cost-effective option was to replace the heaters with more efficient programmable models. This enabled the heaters to turn on automatically an hour or so before a scheduled session, so the building was warm when people arrived. Before this meant a special trip by some unlucky leader to turn on the heaters manually.
Four heaters have been installed in the main room, and two in the kitchen, which was previously unheated...and extremely cold. As one leader commented: 'We used to have to wear our thermals to go into the kitchen!" The upgraded heating will prove especially beneficial for younger children and should help to cut electric bills.
Removal of the former porch (left) and fitting new doors and security lights have made the Guide Hut safer and more secure (right).
Following a suggestion by Borough Council Partnerships Coordinator, Karen Davies, the Guide leaders successfully bid for funding from the People Power Fund administered by Staffordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). The money was used to reprofile the building's entrance doors and doorway, removing the recess and brick walls, which was a target for vandalism, and also improve security lighting. When the new doors have bedded in some draughtproofing will be added, to further enhance the comfort of the young people who still regard the building as a place of fun, learning and inspiration, whatever its failings.
The People Power Fund offers grants of £100 to £3000 to local groups seeking to 'find solutions to community safety problems'. For further information see the People Power Fund pages on the PCC's website.