French Church Group
FRENCH CHURCH GROUP HELPS LIVERPOOL HOUSING CHARITY
TWELVE volunteers from an international church in Paris have spent a week helping to build homes in Liverpool.
The group from the Emmanuel International Church (EIC) helped prepare foundations for the next homes at Liverpool Habitat for Humanity in Granby-Toxteth and created an outdoor seating area for future volunteers.
Led by British woman Ruth Frost, missions' coordinator for EIC, and American Scott Sontag, the church's minister of music and young adults' pastor, the group comprised a mix of French, American, Chinese, Swiss, Brazilian, New Zealand and French/Ghanaian individuals.
EIC is an inter-denominational church situated in the western suburbs of Paris. It has an average attendance of 200 people each Sunday morning for worship in English and the congregation is made up of mainly ex-patriots from around 25 different nations.
Said Ruth: "Each year we fund a mission to work with the global Habitat for Humanity charity in a different country and we have previously built in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Portugal. Due to the increasingly challenging task of raising enough funds to finance a mission trip, this year we needed to work on a project as close to home as possible.
"I've accompanied a team to Liverpool before with France's main electricity company, EDF, so already knew about the project. The timing was perfect as the charity had just received a new injection of funding for a further 23 homes."
Situated off Kingsley Road, the Liverpool Habitat for Humanity homes are built almost entirely by volunteers under the watchful eye of a small nucleus of qualified staff. The development will eventually feature a total of 32 homes – nine of which have already been built – and the home owners themselves work side by side with volunteers.
Liza Parry, LHFH executive director, said: "We welcome volunteers to site from all over the world; at the last count we'd had more than 10,000 volunteers working here from over 60 different countries. People come as individuals, as part of a community, interest or faith group like EIC, or as part of company team-builds. Every one of them makes a valuable contribution to our mission to provide low-cost homes for people who couldn't ordinarily afford to own a home of their own."
Central to LHFH's operation is the fact that future home owners can spend 500 hours physically helping to build their home – known as 'sweat equity' – in lieu of a £10,000 down-payment, thereby reducing the cost of home ownership.
The charity has recently forged a new partnership with Cosmopolitan Housing Association in Liverpool, which will help fund the remaining 23 homes.
Following deduction of the £10,000 'sweat equity', eligible home partners have a choice of obtaining a mortgage to purchase one of the homes outright or taking out a shared equity mortgage to own a minimum of 50% of the property and then pay rent to Cosmopolitan on the remaining share. They can buy further shares in the property over time until they own their home in full.
LHFH also relies on donations of cash, materials, services and gifts in kind to enable it to keep building costs down.
Anyone can volunteer to help on site, provided they are aged 18 or over and have the motivation and enthusiasm to participate. No previous building skills or experience are required as all the necessary supervision is provided.
For more information on volunteering or home ownership, contact Liza Parry, at Liverpool Habitat for Humanity, tel: 0151 707 9440.