Following a series of successful grant applications for building related projects, we are now racing to get them completed before the funder’s deadline.

First off is the new accessible toilet, which has been widened to fit a wheelchair comfortably. This is combined with a new toilet containing a low water flush siphon, natural rubber non-slip flooring and a set of beautiful second hand cupboards for the kitchen area (which we had to move about to widen the loo). In the first week of December, we will be destroying the 20cm step that goes up to the meeting room, making the majority of the ground floor accessible.

Secondly, we are working with BEEP (Birmingham Environmental Education Project) to install a lot of natural sheep’s wool insulation into the reception area, which is part of the Victorian cottage section of our building. This, combined with extra natural daylight, motion sensors for our lighting, more natural rubber flooring, secondary glazing and some great recycled wood furniture, will turn this into a great educational resource for everyone in Birmingham.

Lastly, there is the biomass boiler, which is becoming increasingly more important to everyone in the building as the Winter chills begin to bite. We will be installing 49kw of Austrian boiler technology as well as extending the heat distribution network (pipes, radiators and zone controllers) to supply the rest of the building with ‘cosiness’ when and where it is needed.

Fingers crossed, that it all goes smoothly. The combined total cost of the projects is near £70,000, making it the biggest investment we have ever made to the energy efficiency and accessibility of our building.

Fingers crossed, there is more to follow next year!