Team Whitehouse helps families build for the future

Helen Lindsay, Mandy Spence, John Spence, Jennifer Dodds, Frances Macauley and Michael Stevenson from Whitehouse Presbyterian Church with the Trifan family who now have a new home thanks to the Big Build project. INNT42-502CON
Helen Lindsay, Mandy Spence, John Spence, Jennifer Dodds, Frances Macauley and Michael Stevenson from Whitehouse Presbyterian Church with the Trifan family who now have a new home thanks to the Big Build project. INNT42-502CON
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A TEAM of 10 volunteers from Whitehouse Presbyterian Church were among a 50-strong group of people from across Northern Ireland who travelled to Romania last month to help build houses for local people as part of Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Big Build’ project.

The hard-working men and women, who ranged in age from 18 to 72, and came from a variety of occupations - from pen pushers to construction workers - spent a week in Baltesti where they turned a building site into a small community of 10 new homes.

“We worked alongside Romanian volunteers including the families who would receive the new homes. These families previously lived in overcrowded, damp and unsafe conditions,” explained Michael Stevenson from Team Whitehouse.

“With no financial means to pay a deposit, the families ‘pay’ Habitat a ‘sweat equity’ whereby they put in over 600 hours working on their future homes or the homes of others.

“All the volunteers from Northern Ireland worked hard, but obviously we could not match the enthusiasm and sheer graft of the incredible Romanian families we worked alongside. It was inspiring to watch a determined group of people working so hard to realise their dream of a new home.

“When the houses were handed over in an emotional ceremony at the end of the week, rather than feeling proud of what we achieved, all of us actually felt humbled, privileged and grateful to the families for letting us share in their adventure - an adventure we will never forget.”

The Whitehouse Big Build 2011 team, many of whom were on their second or third mission with Habitat for Humanity, were: Jennifer Dodds, Helen Lindsay, Frances Macauley, Charles McDowell, Isobel McDowell, Bobby McGlade, John Spence, Mandy Spence, Michael Stevenson and Mandy Thompson.

Full story and more pictures in this week’s Times...