Charity officials have been settling into an office with a difference to continue their work to help homeless young people in West Norfolk to transform their lives.
The Benjamin Foundation runs a supported accommodation centre, known as The Hub, in Post Mill, on Lynn’s Fairstead estate for teenagers who would otherwise be sleeping rough.
A new office, purpose built in a shepherd’s hut on the site, was formally opened in a ceremony attended by staff, residents, trustees and sponsors on Wednesday.
And officials say the facility, which has been nicknamed Faith, will make a big difference to their work.
Hub manager Ian Jansens said most of the available space at the centre goes towards giving young people a safe place to stay.
Up to seven 16 or 17 year olds can be accommodated at the site at any one time and Mr Jansens said: “All of our young residents have had a tough start to their lives and will have recently become homeless.
“Our dedicated staff provide these young people with 24/7 support and Faith will be hugely valuable to us on a very practical level.
“Having the shepherd’s hut in the garden means we have an extra room for meetings and additional office space.”
The Lynn hub is one of five supported accommodation programmes across Norfolk, including one in Fakenham, which are run by the foundation to provide a safe place for homeless young people to stay and help to get their lives back on track.
The facility was handbuilt by workers from The English Shepherd Hut Company, which is based at Rackheath, near Norwich and even claims actress Elizabeth Hurley among its clients.
The building style is now popular as either a garden retreat or holiday accommodation, though the firm says it can also be modelled as office or studio space.
The 15ft Retreat style hut, which is priced from £12,000 to buy, has a mains electricty connection and was fitted with a solid oak desk and a U-shaped sofa.
Company founder Craig Nield, who attended the opening, said: “We were proud to be working with the Benjamin Foundation and designed a Shepherds Hut that met all their needs.”
The hut was funded by a contribution from the proceeds raised through the People’s Postcode Lottery scheme, which manages lotteries for a range of charities.
Since it was launched in 2008, the game claims to have raised almost £40 million for good causes across the country.