Making Room for More: Extending Our Centre

Updated: Sep 26

In 2002, Anne Herbert became President of the Centre at Deal. Anne dreamt that an extension would be built onto the front of the Centre, thus providing a reception room. The Centre desperately needed the extra room to serve refreshments after events but particularly to enable patients receiving healing to be separated from the noise of those awaiting treatment. It was merely a dream but one that she shared with her friends on the Committee. Soon after we heard that new laws, governing the services public buildings must provide for disabled people, were to be implemented. This meant that the centre had to provide disabled toilet facilities and better access to the building.

It was suggested that the Centre applied for a lottery grant and, as plans were drawn up, a fundraising committee was set up lead by Jean Hargrave and consisted of other committee members Robin Hook, the late Diane Fewell and Wendy Sartain. After much hard work an application for funding was made – unfortunately we were unsuccessful.

On receiving the news, everyone was disappointed. However, we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and decided that we would go it alone. The Committee knuckled down and began fund raising. We submitted plans and had them approved and soon had enough money to build the shell of the extension. As the work commenced we sent out thoughts and prayers in the hope that we would have the funds to complete the work we had started. The builders knew our predicament and were very generous with their labour charges and even donated doors for the toilets, kitchen and staff room. We were able to re-use the old front door but needed new doors for the porch and into the main room. The funds had run out so the doors would have to wait until more money could be raised.

John Aglington, one of the builders, was going through a difficult time and was about to have his house repossessed… he was a Catholic but felt he needed to pray and so went into the main room and said some prayers. That lunch time he went to the shop at the top of the hill and bought a roll for his lunch; whilst there he decided to also buy a scratch card… as he sat on-site he scratched off the silver coating to reveal that he had won £62,000, which was enough to stop the repossession. As he had said the prayers in our Centre he felt he would like to donate enough money for us to purchase both sets of double doors we required.