A fire-hit charity group will be up and running again in less than a week thanks to the “amazing force of human nature”.
Shabang! theatrical group for people with additional needs was devastated after a fire last month ravaged the Watershed arts centre in Bridge Street, Slaithwaite, where it meets.
And the group was heart-broken after it was told that the centre will be shut for at least six to nine months while repairs are carried out.
But now Angela Wakefield, of Shabang!, said their prayers had been answered after Kirklees Council offered them the lower ground floor of Slaithwaite Civic Hall.
The rooms needed some work, so volunteers have been going in to paint the walls, clean floors and move in equipment for Shabang! to launch its activities there next Thursday.
Angela said: “The council has been extremely supportive.
“We can have the premises until the end of March and the first three months are rent-free. Then a special charity rate kicks in to cover the cost of utilities.”
She said it was all coming together thanks to people giving their time and money to make it happen.
“Human nature is amazing. We have been inundated with offers of help. People have been washing toys, buying new books and providing rugs to cover the floors in the civic hall,” she said.
Angela, of Holmfirth, was featured in the Examiner last week when she told how Shabang! had been a lifesaver after her daughter, Katy, was born with Williams Syndrome and her partner died suddenly.
“Even though it was difficult, I wanted to tell what had happened in my life to show how much support Shabang! provides. So many people have told me they saw the article and it has prompted them to get involved, which is why I did it,” she said.
“I went into a charity shop in Holmfirth, for instance, and a lovely volunteer said she had seen the article and could I come back on Thursday because she wanted to give me a cheque for Shabang!”
The insurance company will cover the cost of the repairs to the building, but there is much more expense involved.
“Just getting the rooms ready at Slaithwaite Civic Hall has had financial implications, including the cost of trying to provide a sensory room for the children who need it,” said Angela.
“The first time I cried was when I saw a massive King Kong monkey, which has been a Shabang! emblem, sat in a skip.
“It was a soft toy three times as big as a man and all the children loved it.”
The first group to meet at Slaithwaite Civic Hall next Thursday from 10.30am will be the Tiddlers aimed at pre-school age children. And, after such a bad few weeks, Shabang! is also looking forward to its film premiere of Sweet Imagineers on Sunday, October 2, at Penistone Paramount Cinema from 1.30pm. It will feature more than 80 youngsters.
• Shabang! has issued a plea for a hot water dispenser and colourful beanbags for babies to lie on – the two main items missing for the launch next Thursday.