Rotherham Sitwell Rotary Club is supporting Shiloh, a charity that offers support to adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Rotherham. Shiloh works alongside every ‘guest’ to help them to plan for and realise a better future. The club’s attention was first drawn to Shiloh’s desire to create a peace garden in June 2018 by Rtn Peter Short. After a preliminary meeting between Rtns Peter Short and Tom Knight with Steve Wylie, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shiloh, the project was discussed by the Community and Vocation Committee (Comvoc) and it was decided to propose that it be included in the Comvoc programme for 2018/19.The club approved the project and accepted the responsibility of funding it at a then estimated cost of £3000.
Whilst there had been much discussion about what was required in the courtyard, there was no proper drawing of a scheme which could be properly priced etc. This was seen as essential if the project was to proceed in an efficient, controlled and organised way. Rtn Tom Knight used his contacts at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) to secure the services of a landscape architect and a provisional design for the project was produced. This provisional plan was discussed with the guests at Shiloh and some minor amendments were made with a final drawing prepared in February 2019.
Negotiation of Partnership Arrangement
The vision for how the project would be delivered was that Rotherham Sitwell RC would enlist the services of a builder who would provide the expertise in the various trades required. Sitwell RC would provide or organise labour if required and would fund all the materials required for the project. Mears, who are a building contractor, were contacted initially as they carry the maintenance of half of the Council’s housing stock and they already had a relationship with Shiloh. They were immediately enthusiastic and contacted Fortem who maintain the other half of the councils housing stock and a collaborative arrangement was agreed at a meeting with Sitwell RC and Shiloh whereby:
- Fortem would carry out the excavation and paving works
- Mears would carry out the joinery work
- Fortem, Mears and the Council would pay the cost of the labour involved
- Rotherham Sitwell RC would pay for all the materials, provide the project
- management and act as “Client’s agent”
In order for Sitwell RC to honour its obligations, the following arrangements were set up to ensure that the project could be properly funded:
- Rtns Peter Short and Maggi Clark lobbied individual members of RMBC and asked them to donate part of their community budgets to the project. In this way £1,550 was raised
- Rotherham Wheelers Cycling Club (RWCC) was already planning a 1000 mile ride along the full length of the River Rhine from its source in Switzerland, through six countries to its outfall into the North Sea at the Hook of Holland. Rtn Tom Knight persuaded RWCC to ride for Shiloh and a Just Giving page was set up with a target of £5,000. In the event and to date, £4,488.45 including Gift Aid had been raised through this source.
- Rotherham Round Table and Rotherham Rotary Club were asked if they could make a donation towards the cost of the project. Both agreed and £800 was donated towards the project.
It can be seen from the above that the total amount raised to date is £6,838.45. Consequently, it was decided to extend the scope of the works to include the renewal of the main doors into the peace garden from the dining room. These cost £1,200 but the sub-contractor who carried out the joinery work generously contributed half the cost of them, leaving the £600 remaining easily fundable from the amount raised.The surplus of funds raised will be used by Shiloh for the provision of the many services they routinely provide for the homeless in Rotherham
Work on site started on 10 June and the peace garden was officially opened by the Mayor of Rotherham on 19 July 2019.
The impact of the project on the work of Shiloh is best summed up by Steve Wylie, the CEO who says:
“The new garden area has transformed the way our guests use the outdoor space. It now looks and feels like a garden, a place where guests can find peace, relax and engage in activities should they wish to. The kitchen garden planters provide herbs for cooking and the signage educates guests on how to use them. The new fire doors make the garden more accessible and the glazing helps to bring the outside in. The guests really appreciate the large rain shelter & decking area, which we used recently for an outdoor music group. It’s been a wonderful project that will have a lasting impact on Shiloh guests for years to come”.