St Albans church team build family's new home

TEN people from St Albans have built a house in just one week – for a poor family living in a shack in Cape Town. The group from St Albans, who are all members of the Vineyard Church in Brick Knoll Park off Ashley Road, included Tim Winfield. Tim, 41, of

TEN people from St Albans have built a house in just one week - for a poor family living in a shack in Cape Town.

The group from St Albans, who are all members of the Vineyard Church in Brick Knoll Park off Ashley Road, included Tim Winfield.

Tim, 41, of Cambridge Road, a software designer with three children aged four, seven and nine, said: "Given that the team was all from different backgrounds we got on really well and most days involved lots of banter and mickey taking. As in all construction sites, we got nicknames. Mine was Tidy Tim, a name that I think my wife Karen might understand."

The house was built for a family of five who had been living in a tiny five metre square shack made of old bits of wood, metal and plastic sheets with no running water or heating.


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The head of the family, Joseph, aged 44, was suffering from tuberculosis and has not been able to work recently due to his poor health

After the house was completed the team dedicated it to Joseph and his family in an emotional handover during which tears were shed Joseph said: "I cannot believe it, I cannot believe it.

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On Monday no house, Friday a house, my life is changing for the better."

The group of 10 did a variety of jobs ranging from mixing cement to carrying blocks, laying roof tiles and pointing walls.

The shack in the Mfueleini township near Cape Town was typical of the housing in such townships all over South Africa.

Gradually the old shacks are being replaced through government programmes but at a much slower pace than needed.

The scheme is being coordinated by a large international charity, Habitat for Humanity, which uses volunteers to help provide new housing for some of the world's most impoverished people.

The new house made of breeze blocks and with a proper tiled pitched roof, cost �9,000.

The government funded around �3,600 of this, the home owner took out a mortgage of around �300 to pay a portion, and the rest was funded by the St Albans group and their sponsors.

Tim, a member of the church for seven years, said that the �300 coming from the home owner may not sound like a lot but the average income per person in the township is approximately two dollars a day, so getting a house built is a big deal and a big investment.

The building team was swamped with local children visiting to view the action so some were diverted on to child entertainment duties.

Tim said: "It helped that we had some naturals in our team - Jenna with face painting, Sarah and Carol for hugs and Steve with balloon modelling.

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