Housing Graduates Give Liverpool Charity a Helping Hand
Graduates working for UK housing company Redrow Homes have brushed up on teamwork, communication skills, planning, coordination and practical skills while helping a Liverpool housing charity.
The five trainees have transformed an unoccupied house at Liverpool Habitat for Humanity, in Granby-Toxteth, to create a marketing area for would-be home owners, office space and an area where children can learn about construction and view progress on site from the safety of an upstairs bedroom.
Along the way, the graduates sourced materials, services and gifts in kind from a raft of Redrow suppliers, as well as mucking in themselves to paint walls, rearrange furniture and landscape the gardens.
Philippa Vickery, Grant Strong, Thomas Marsden, Andrew Welton and Leanne Allen joined Redrow last September after graduating. Their training programme at Redrow involves them spending time in each department to experience all of the different disciplines of housebuilding.
Coming together to work as a team on a community based project forms part of the programme and Liverpool Habitat for Humanity was chosen as this year’s beneficiary. The charity is responsible for 32 low-cost homes off Kingsley Road, mostly built by volunteers including the future home owners themselves.
Richard Beadsmoore, group training and development manager for Redrow said: “The set-up at LHFH provided the perfect environment to challenge the graduates through a combination of negotiating with suppliers and contractors, programming the works and finally working as a team to complete the task on time to the satisfaction of the charity.”
The graduates had three weeks to prepare off-site, sourcing materials and planning activity, although this in itself proved challenging with none of them working in the same office and spread across England and Wales. They then came together in Liverpool for four days of intensive work to put all their plans into practice.
For Leanne Allen, 25, from Nantwich, in Cheshire, it marked a return to the city having graduated with a geography degree from the University of Liverpool before going on to do an MA in planning at the University of Manchester.
Leanne said: “We worked well together as team, learned the importance of good communication, made contacts along the way, experienced the supply side of the business and established the importance of doing a job properly, as well as managing time and people effectively, especially under pressure. We all really enjoyed the project and found it very worthwhile to see everyone at Habitat for Humanity so pleased with the results.”
The Redrow team has totally refreshed the property, painting it throughout, created a viewing gallery and play room for children, provided office space for LHFH staff in two rooms, tidied and landscaped the gardens, and produced much-needed marketing materials and new signage.
Liza Parry, executive director for Liverpool Habitat for Humanity, said: “This has been fantastic for us and the new marketing suite will be a major asset for the charity. We’ve recently formed a new partnership with Cosmopolitan Housing Association, which is helping to fund construction of our remaining 23 homes; we’ve had the Territorial Army on site helping to dig drains and build a road to service the homes; and now we have a clean, attractive and welcoming environment in which we can talk to prospective home owners, take them through the plans and hopefully sign them up to start helping to build their own home.”
LHFH is an affiliate of the international Habitat for Humanity organisation, a global charity that is supported in the UK by the Home Builders’ Federation. The international charity has built more than 500,000 homes around the world, has projects in approximately 80 different countries and is dedicated to the elimination of housing poverty.
In Liverpool, families are able to reduce the cost of home ownership by investing 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ – physically working on site – in lieu of a £10,000 cash down-payment. The charity is actively recruiting home owners for the 23 of its 32 homes still to be built, on land that was donated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and can be contacted on 0151 707 9440 or visit the website at www.liverpoolhfh.org.uk.
For more on careers and employment with Redrow, including the graduate training programme, go to www.redrowplc.co.uk/Careers-And-Recruitment
With thanks to Redrow suppliers who provided material, services or gifts in kind for the project, free of charge: LandStruction (landscaping materials and labour); USP Creative (graphic logo in the marketing suite; Think Bespoke (fitting of Perspex notice boards); Eurox (providing all necessary protective clothing and equipment); Parkers Merchanting (consumables); LW Coles (new fridge/freezer and oven); SpeedyHire (hire of various items); JCW Print Solutions (printing literature/site plans); Signs Unlimited (provider and fitter of the sign in front garden); WBP Visual Solutions (exhibition stand); CA Design & Print (noticeboard and whiteboards); OPD Building Solutions (joinery); Dulux Trade (supply of paint and materials); Create Landscaping (hanging baskets); Show Business Interiors (toys and graphics); Redrow Marketing Studio (creative work for exhibition panels and signage). Furniture and IT equipment was donated by Redrow from surplus.
Redrow Homes is one of the UK’s leading house builders, operating across England and Wales, with a strong emphasis on high quality family housing in prime locations. Its New Heritage Collection of family homes combines traditional looking, ‘Arts & Crafts’ influenced exteriors with bright, modern, high specification interiors. Established more than 35 years, the company has won numerous awards over the years. Redrow received a 5* Award in the Home Builder Federation (HBF) annual customer satisfaction survey in 2011 and 2012; collected the Gold award in the Large Housebuilder category of the 2011 What House? awards; and its ‘Our Pride ~ Your Joy’ campaign was named best marketing initiative at the 2011Housebuilder Awards for innovation and excellence. Web: www.redrow.co.uk.