Checking down the sewers is par for the course for St Albans fundraiser

Janet Audley-Charles

Janet Audley-Charles - Credit: Archant

There’s almost nothing that one dedicated community champion won’t do in pursuit of improving facilities for her children.

As part of her investigations into installing new disabled toilets, Old London Road Pre-school leader, Janet Audley-Charles had to explore the sewer route, to check out the feasibility of the project.

The pre-school put in a ramp for wheelchair access earlier in the year, and has been keen to make the building more inclusive for years. But the cost to install the toilets is estimated to be around £30k.

Led by the 4th St Albans Scout Group – who are the landlords of the Riverside Road hut where the pre-school is based - fundraising efforts to make the preschool and scout hut more accessible for all are now underway.

Janet said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the 4th St Albans Scout Group on a project that will benefit scouts, pre-schoolers and the wider community.

“The improved toilet facilities with disabled access will complete our aspirations to make the hut in Riverside Road fully inclusive.

“I have spent many an hour talking to people about sewers, the routes of the sewers, how to apply for ‘build over’ licence’ and how to apply for planning permission - as well as investigating which organisations might help with funding.”

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Among those who have helped raise money for the project is Tobias Audley-Charles, 18, who attended the pre-school as a child and was a 4th St Albans scout. He raised £100 by shaving his hair off.

Cllr Sandy Walkington, who pledged £500 towards the renovations when he visited recently, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the pre-school and it’s brilliant. The scouts are great landlords too. But the toilet facilities are pretty primitive and there is no provision for disabled children.

“So I whole-heartedly commend this. It’s no small task raising £30,000 against so many demands.

“I’ve been able to provide a small amount from my county councillor locality budget and I have pointed Janet at other funding sources. She and her team are inspirations, so I am sure they will get there.”

The preschool – which is planning a series of fundraising events - hopes that old pupils will support the venture and is inviting former families and friends to visit an online donations page, which can be found at