Kerala House Renovation Project (KHRP) update: January 2014.
Hope you all had a wonderful festive season. Whilst most of you were immersed in the spirit of the festivities and enjoyed a well-deserved break, the KHRP team was hard at work trying to speed up the reopening of Kerala House. Our builders took just two days off and the team members were busy planning the fine details of the work, obtaining estimates and raising funds.
Since the last update, there has been many positive and a few negative developments. On the positive side we have completed most of the structural work including rebuilding the rear extension, building a new side extension, relocating the stairs, installing a new shop front, repositioning the kitchen and toilets, removing old chimneys, replacing windows and doors and building a new toilet upstairs. You can see photos of the transformation of Kerala House on MAUK Facebook page (www.facebook/mauklondon).
Also on a positive note the KHRP team was encouraged by the response from the Malayalee community when approached for donations. The average household donation for KHRP has risen to £80, however, we welcome any contributions you can make- little or large. We were humbled and encouraged by the proactive response we received from the first generation Malayalees, most of whom are now pensioners. Rather than waiting for us to approach them, the members of MAUK 60s+ Sisters Club and Elders Club got together and raised over £1500. We are forever indebted to their generosity and guidance. I must also acknowledge and thank the regular faces at Sree Narayana Guru Mission for their generosity and the inspiring support they have given the KHRP team.
One the negative side, we had to extend the deadline for the completion of the work to end of April 2014, from the initially anticipated date February end 2014. This was due to additional unforeseen work. Some of these additional work was brought about by the extra requirements instructed by the Planning Officers at London Borough of Newham, others, by the neglect in carrying out appropriate maintenance and a few, by cutting corners to the work done in the past in order to save cost. The initially unforeseen additional works, i.e. removing the chimney, rebuilding the rear extension, replacing the first floor window, re-plastering the entire walls on the first floor, strengthening the loft with metal beams and installing extra ventilations has drastically increased the cost of the project to around £110,000.
Although these setbacks were not anticipated, we see these challenges as stepping stones to our ultimate goal. These challenges have strengthened our resolve to attain a Kerala House of our dreams; a Kerala House that all Malayalees can to show off with pride.
We are holding a reception on Saturday, 25 January 2014 from 7:30pm to 10pm at Ripple Centre, 121 – 125 Ripple Road, Barking, IG11 7FN to highlight the significance of Kerala House in the history of UK Malayalees and to raise funds. I am inviting prominent Malayalees from the field of sports, businesses, politics, media, arts and community organisations to this reception. There will also be guests speakers from the above field as well as light entertainment top artists in the UK. The Hon. Stephen Timms, Shadow Minister for Employment will be among the special guests present. The reception is open to all who are generous willing to donate £15 or more per person.
Looking into the future plans for Kerala House, we would like to set up a small garden at the front space of Kerala House with all-weather plants and shrubs. This is expected to cost around £3000. We are looking for sponsors to meet this cost. The sponsor can have the garden named after their loved ones or their business.
The newly renovated Kerala House will accommodate up to 125 people in the main hall and will have a fully equipped modern meeting/board room that can accommodate up to 30 people on the first floor. We invite your suggestions about reasonable hiring costs for these facilities.
The KHRP Team would like to sincerely thank Mr. Sreekumar Kurupath (MAUK life member and volunteer) of Kumar Associates Solicitors for his wonderful support. He has used his friendship and influence to promote KHRP as well as MAUK to a section of the community that was beyond the KHRP Team’s reach.
Before I end this update, I must once again highlight the daily contributions of Mr. Sreevalsalan Pillai (affectionately called Billy by his friends. Don’t know how he got that name, don’t have any similarity to his real name), who is managing the daily aspects of the project. Billy visits the site at least once a day before or after his regular paid job to keep an eye on even the minute details of the construction. In addition, he has been relentlessly trying to find innovative ways of reducing cost while maintaining high standards and elaborate specifications. I am certain that without the contribution of Billy, the rest of the team would have gone bald by now (although, we do have a few baldies in the team, but that’s age related!)
We once again request you to promote Kerala House among your friends and families and encourage their contribution. Any additional financial contribution you can afford to make for the successful completion of Kerala House renovation will also be greatly appreciated. The KHRP team moves forward with the confidence that we can count on your continued support and guidance.
With all the very best wishes for a wonderful 2014!