Rugby councillor wants to bring King Charles to town to celebrate revamp of homes for vulnerable men
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A Rugby councillor is aiming to bring King Charles to town for a celebratory beer once a revamp of homes for vulnerable men is completed.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Lib Dem, Paddox) is a trustee of Lawrence Sheriff Almshouses, a charity responsible for 11 bungalows in Rugby that are specifically for older and vulnerable men.
Located on the gyratory system at the top of Dunchurch Road, the homes that were built in the 1960s are behind the times in terms of facilities for those living there and energy ratings.
The plan is to bring them up to modern standards with wet rooms, double glazing, full insulation and solar panels and then build up to four more to cater for growing need.
It has been a battle to overcome financial challenges with the Almshouse Association key to helping to unlock a £592,000 grant from Homes England.
Another £100,000 of funding has come from Rugby Borough Council with Cllr Roodhouse hopeful that section 106 money – contributions from developers through the planning process – will soon come forward from Warwickshire County Council, all of which will be added to a loan from the Charity Bank.
The charity is almost there but is aiming to raise £50,000 through its JustGiving page and price reductions or donations from local companies to get everything just right, enabling the bungalows to be fully carpeted and work on landscaping to be completed.
Refurbishment work will carry into 2025 and the new builds set to be completed in 2026.
“We have already approached the Almshouse Association to ask whether King Charles would come to open them because he is still the patron from when he was the Prince of Wales,” he said.
“It is quite common for a royal to open them due to their national significance.
“The main dream is to get it all done, finished, complete and then have a nice cold beer – maybe with King Charles, that would be something, wouldn’t it, to have a royal visitor to Rugby.”
“If inflation races away, that would probably mean knocking the new properties on the head, or reducing it down to two,” acknowledged Cllr Roodhouse.
“That is why that is one of the end phases and we have to work closely with our contractor. We are hoping to use local suppliers and will be approaching them to see about the possibility of lower costs as a donation from them.
“The more of that we can do, and the more funds we can raise, the more it will help. Inflation does worry us but we have to take the chance to do this.
“The Almshouses Association did a report which showed how being in a good quality almshouses leads to longer lives through things like being in a warm home and having people around you, reducing social isolation.
“Our view is that it is important. A lot of people don’t realise where they are but when you explain, they realise that they walk past it frequently. It is one of those hidden gems of Rugby.
“The idea is that it will be there, built to the standards that it should be for the next 30 years.”