THE CEILING has caved in on a ‘devastated’ community shop after a burst water pipe flooded its town centre premises and destroyed months of hard work by young adults with learning difficulties.
Water poured into the Works 4 Me shop in High Street for two days and nights before the supply could be cut off, amid a weekend of burst pipes and interrupted water supplies caused by thawing ice.
The damage has left the not-for-profit social enterprise desperately seeking new premises.
And Works 4 Me’s clients – adults with learning difficulties who ‘upcycle’ donated furniture to sell in the shop – have been left in tears at hearing their hard work has been wrecked.
A difficult-to-access water main burst over the weekend causing the ceiling to collapse, trashing the shop and its contents – including the furniture that clients have spent the last few months restoring.
Co-director and co-founder Kate Morris said staff were devastated.
She said: “It’s not about money, it’s about the months of hard work which have gone in to doing up the furniture which has been donated to us by the general public.”
She said some clients burst into tears when they heard the news.
“It’s all their time and effort. We have many clients who have autistic tendancies, for whom change is not always good.
“Most of them are worried about what they’ve made, whether it is salvageable – and want to know when we are coming back.
“We provide them with a way of spending their day where they come to work, learn new skills and deal with the general public.
“We’re trying to find other things for our clients to do to prevent them becoming isolated, and there’s not much happening – so this has reaffirmed how necessary Works 4 Me is.”
During its four years of trading, Works 4 Me has moved between a number of empty shops in the town centre – but never with such short notice.
Kate said: “When we routinely move shop, we have to give clients a bit of notice and warning, so we’re worried about how the clients will take it.
“The sooner we can find new premises the better, so things can dry out and perhaps we could salvage some stuff.”
But Kate was adamant that Works 4 Me would bounce back.
“We’ll continue,” she said. “We’re encouraged by the fact that since this happened, we’ve had hundreds of messages wishing us well, and money has been pouring in to our crowdfunding appeal.
“This gives us encouragement to continue, and makes us realise how much Works 4 Me is needed.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kate-morris-3 to donate to Works 4 Me’s appeal to replace damaged materials and tools.