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of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Thursday, 22 November 2007, 15:59 GMT
Day centre open again after blaze

A day care centre for homeless people in Brighton has recovered from a serious fire seven months ago to now be able to fully reopen for its users.

National and local building firms contributed time and materials towards the refurbishment of St Anne's day centre, in Upper Bedford Street.

A suspicious blaze in an office area on 30 April left the buildings extensively damaged and littered with debris.

The official reopening took place on Thursday morning.

The service is run out of the Fitzherbert Centre, part of St John the Baptist Church.

It is wonderful to see the centre looking good again
Heather Kearon, appeals secretary

Catering for up to 60 homeless people a day, it offers lunch and breakfast, social activities and computer and telephone facilities.

The Rok group and Sussex firm Rainbow Property Services helped out with the recovery process.

Rok builders put up a new wall so the day centre's kitchen and food serving area could be used again.

It has continued a limited service since the fire, but appeals secretary Heather Kearon said: "We are thrilled to once again be in a position to help the many users of the centre who are isolated or lonely, and who have come to depend on the work we do.

"Without the voluntary help we have received from Rok and Rainbow we would have struggled to reopen, so we are immensely grateful.

"The centre was left in a terrible mess after the fire and it is wonderful to see it looking good again."