Big Society in action in Bognor Regis

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Councillors in Bognor Regis put the Big Society idea into practice after raising money to pay for a much-needed new water boiler at a charity building.

When Pat Dillon saw Sands Recovery Project desperately needed a new boiler, he got his fellow councillors together to raise £300 to pay for it.

And being a plumber, he thought it was only right to fit the new boiler himself.

Bognor mayor Cllr Jim Brooks, Cllr Eileen Anderson, Cllr Tony Gardiner and Cllr John Lawrence managed to get the money together to keep the hot water flowing at Sands in Canada Grove, which helps homeless people.

“Having a chat over a cup of tea is really important to our residents, so the new water boiler has been very useful. Plus it has really brightened up the kitchen,” said Louise Bolton, senior project worker at Sands.

Cllr Dillon said: “One of my fortes is trying to help people who are homeless and I was speaking to one young lad and he invited me down to Sands.

“I was asked if I wanted a cup of tea and was told the water urn was broken.

“I approached the four ward councillors of the Marine ward and they forked out for it from their own little pot.”

Sands is part of homeless charity Stonepillow, which offers shelter, information and support to homeless and vulnerable people in Bognor, Chichester and Littlehampton.

A key element of work focuses on recovery and the individual journey for each of their clients; from rough sleeping to resettlement.

And Sands Recovery Project, an essential component of this journey, is a unique community-based 12-bed recovery programme for people with drug and/or alcohol problems.

A Stonepillow spokeswoman said: “Stonepillow was delighted local councillors of the Sands project were able to help support this community project in assisting them deliver a service to those in need.”

Cllr Dillon said a lot more could be achieved if councillors got their heads together more often.

“I find the biggest problem is the people who are voted in don’t talk to us enough. If people talk to councillors and we talk to others, we can probably achieve a lot more and do it in our own quiet way.”