Richard Howitt MEP visits FACET in March to launch �100,000 restoration campaign
A FENLAND charity launched a �100,000 campaign to revamp its crumbling premises with a visit from Euro MP Richard Howitt. The Fenland Area Community Enterprise Trust (FACET) helps people with learning disabilities learn new skills to get into work, but it
Story by: TOM JACKSON
A FENLAND charity launched a �100,000 campaign to revamp its crumbling premises with a visit from Euro MP Richard Howitt.
The Fenland Area Community Enterprise Trust (FACET) helps people with learning disabilities learn new skills to get into work, but its premises in March has a badly leaking roof, rotting wooden window frames and smashed windows.
Labour MEP Mr Howitt visited the Marwick Road centre on Friday and met chief executive Linda Ingram as well as trustees and students.
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He described the building as in "a shocking state".
Mr Howitt, vice-president of the European Parliament's All-Party Disability Group, said: "I am deeply impressed that the staff are carrying on working in what are some pretty grave conditions.
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"That is testament to their commitment to people with learning difficulties who come here, and their absolute determination that this project is going to survive and prosper in the future."
A review carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council in 2008 suggested that restoration could cost as much as �300,000, but Mrs Ingram believes that can be "drastically reduced".
She said: "We think it will cost �100,000 to repair the roof and that is the most urgent need. But staff, students and board members have been doing a lot of the work, decorating and refurbishing some of the rooms.
"We have so far raised about �6,000 towards the cost of the roof with an Adventure Capital Fund grant, but we urgently need more.
"We get a lot of support from businesses and as part of this appeal I would like to stimulate for even more. We can even provide a service by taking items off businesses rather than seeing items dumped."
• FACET was formed in 2002 and provides training and employment opportunities for people aged 16 or over with learning disabilities.
• The charity secured the Marwick Centre from the county council on a peppercorn lease. The county council previously used it as a training centre.
• Two of its main services include furniture manufacturing and horticulture. There are also computing skills workshops and independent living skills training for disabled adults who wish to live independently or in supported living.
• More than 80 people from across Fenland use the centre every week.