*PRESS RELEASE ISSUED MONDAY 18TH JULY*
An Exmouth based company has flown a team to Portugal on a rescue mission to help a British expat whose hotel business has been all but ruined by wildfire.
Portugal is in the middle of a record-breaking heatwave which has caused wildfire to rip across swathes of the country causing widespread carnage.
Worldwide community projects company Splash Projects, which has its HQ in Exmouth, sent a team of six out to the town of Almancil, 14km west of Faro in the Algarve, on Sunday 17 July after a desperate plea from Sally Roberts from Bristol, who was forced to close her 11-bedroom boutique hotel, Quinta Jacintina, after flames reached the building.
Sally, her eight dogs and staff were forced to evacuate last week when the blaze came close. The fire has ruined the hotel’s grounds, damaging furniture and leaving scorched trees and bushes, an ash-strewn pool and smoke logged kitchen in its wake.
Splash Projects connects business teams with charitable organisations around the world, facilitating the build of timber-based projects for them, from children’s adventure playgrounds to sensory gardens and shaded seating areas.
After getting the call for help, Splash Projects’ Managing Director Simon Poole, scrambled together a team which will spend five days on the mission, returning Saturday 23 July. “It’s in our DNA to help people,” he said. “And, with all the other local Portuguese people caught up in the aftermath of the fires, Sally didn’t have anyone else to turn to.”
A Splash team stayed at the hotel in May while facilitating a project for 55 Imperial Business School students who created much-needed outdoor seating areas for vulnerable young women at an Institute of Social Solidarity girls’ safe home in Faro.
“Sally became a friend of ours and knew we could help having seen the project work we do,” continued Simon. “Having to close her hotel and cancel bookings at the height of the tourist season could have ruined her business and we knew she had no one else to turn to.”
In addition to cleaning and clearing out all the damaged items, the team’s work will include repainting and erecting a new fence, to make it appealing for guests to return.
“The team’s priority is making the area safe, clearing everything that’s been fire damaged away, and cleaning the ash off everything,” added Simon. “It’s a challenge, but we like them, and we like to help with a rescue mission if we can.”
To keep up to date with the team’s efforts follow Splash Projects on social media.