Serbia mission complete

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Kind-hearted volunteers from Heanor have returned from a 1,400 mile trip to Serbia to rebuild houses for women and children.

Alan Burton, 45, and Robert Hallsworth, 50, were joined by 13 other volunteers on the trip, which saw them rebuilding houses for survivors of the sex-trafficking trade in the country.

The week-long trip to Novi Sad, was organised by the New Horizon Church in Eastwood, which Alan and Robert are members of.

Alan Burton, of Market Square, said the trip was life-changing.

He said: “It was amazing to make a difference to the lives of the woman and children that have been affected by such horrific crimes.”

Fellow volunteer Robert Hallsworth, of Westfield Avenue said: “There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference to a community that needs the help we were able to provide.”

The inspirational team returned from Serbia on Sunday, October 12, after spending the week refurbishing homes, handing out food parcels and playing with children in the community.

The trip was the brainchild of church leader Craig Wells. who said the expedition had been very moving and they felt they had made a real difference.

The 33-year-old said: “It was very emotional – not a day went past that at least half of us did not cry. It was both emotionally and physically draining and I have never pushed myself that hard before.

“It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.”

The team began the week refurbishing an abortion crisis centre which is the first of its kind in the whole of the Balkan States.

As well as building a roof and installing windows and doors, the team also helped refurbish a home designed to help escapees of the sex-trade and prostitution.

Later in the week the men redecorated two Roma houses in a poverty-striken area, and handed out food parcels.

Craig added that a group from New Horizons might return to Novi Sad in the future to continue the good work.

He said: “It has left a lasting impression on everyone and the work there is never ending.”

To hear more about the expedition attend the presentation evening at 6.15pm on November 9 at the Community Impact Centre, Dovecote Road, Eastwood.