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CAFE ECO BUILDING FOR KENT BASED CHARITY FRIEND FARM ANIMAL SANCTUARY

RJ Steele - FRIEND Farm Development News Post 2022 01 05-6
Not only do sustainable builders RJ Steeles have a green building ethos but as an eco building company with a holistic approach, they also want to help with initiatives to create a better world for future generations.

Managing Director, Robert Steele, explains how they are involved with supporting the FREIND Farm Animal Sanctuary in Tonbridge Kent.

When did you first visit the sanctuary?

I first visited in 2019. It immediately felt like a safe space and I was humbled by the work that patrons Mark and Mandy were doing 365 days a year. I knew almost instantly that I wanted to help.

What is the background to the project you’re involved in?

I first mentioned the project in 2021 while taking my team on a day out to see the amazing work being done at the animal sanctuary.

While talking with Mandy and Mark, they made me aware that they lacked the ability to provide warm food and drinks for visitors regardless of the weather. Their current kitchen was housed in a tent; and although it worked during the summer, the cold, wind, and rain in winter months hindered its usability massively. This affected their ability to accommodate the requirements of visitors regardless of the weather. It was then that I first started thinking about the possibilities of a small eco building.

Why were you drawn to them and not somewhere more local?

It was by luck that I found the FREIND Farm Animal Sanctuary. When I found out about them I looked to see if there were other local sanctuary’s that not only protect life but educate future generations on how to live in harmony with this amazing planet we call our home. But sadly, there were so very few.

What does the project entail?

In January 2021 we made a pledge to donate 10% of our profits to charity. As always, we’ve gone above and beyond; and, with the help of our friends at Littlehampton Welding, we’ve donated sustainable building materials and time to the value of £50,000.

We’ve transformed a tired old shipping container into the sanctuary’s first kitchen and coffee shop. The shipping container now features high performance Internorm windows and doors from ecoHaus, together with eco friendly insulation made from volcanic ash and timber from sustainable sources. The internal finish is a modern and hard wearing OSB board with a dark grey kitchen featuring led lighting. To root the new eco building in its environment we created a covered terrace at one end offering views over the sanctuary.

It was very important to us to add to the sanctuary as sympathetically as possible and work around what nature had already established. So we oriented the shipping container and additional decking area around four elderflower trees. In the summer people using the decking will be able to rest in their shade while admiring the views.

Who were your partners in this project ?

We have been so incredibly lucky and humbled to have help from so many individuals and companies offering their time, resources and expertise. None more so than Littlehampton Welding led by its owner Neil Fry who offered the use of their facilities in Littlehampton, Sussex along with the expert help of their world class fabricators. Together with our eco building team we were able to turn an unloved shipping container at the end of its working life into a kitchen and coffee shop that will last for years to come.

What is the aim of the relationship?

It is my heartfelt intention that our donation to the FRIEND Farm Animal Sanctuary will help them rescue more animals and keep them operating well into the future.

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If you would like to know more about FRIEND Fram Animal Sanctuary please visit their website here and you can visit the website and the amazing work by Littlehampton Welding here .

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