Band of Builders is bringing tradespeople together on a mission to change lives. Lee Jones visits BoB’s latest – and largest – charitable endeavour.
It is their most ambitious project to date and a testament to the progress that the Band of Builders charity has made. “If we were to price this up as a job it would take four months and represent over £120,000 worth of work,” BoB volunteer, Kevin Cox tells us as he takes a break from ‘Cher’s project’, “and we’re doing it in just 24 days.”
The very worthy recipient of that aid is Cher Little, who was tragically struck down with meningococcal septicaemia last year, and subsequently had both legs amputated below the knee. After she was released from hospital, the home she shared with her plasterer partner, Mark proved to be wholly unsuited to a wheelchair-bound resident. “The NHS provided a bed, which we put in the living room, and that’s really been my world,” reveals the Flintshire mother of two. “Although I’ve since been able to make use of prosthetic limbs my mobility was still severely restricted. There was very little privacy, and it was difficult to cope psychologically.”
Enter an intrepid team of volunteer tradespeople, who answered the call after Cher’s sister appealed for help. “Over the course of three separate phases we will open up and increase the size of the ground floor, by removing internal walls, widening doors and adding an extension,” explains Kevin, who is the project lead on the Connah’s Quay site. “A downstairs toilet and wetroom will be added – all level access – with a landscaped garden to the rear, whilst Cher’s upstairs bedroom will be refitted.”
The East London based general builder is well versed in the worthy endeavours of BoB having previously worked on at least eight of their projects and estimates that he presently devotes around 200-man hours a year to the charity. “I’m passionate about what they do because it gives ordinary tradespeople like me the opportunity to make use of their skills and give something back, especially given that they devote their resources to helping people in the industry.”
“There’s a very special dynamic on a BoB site that you just wouldn’t get anywhere else. Where ordinarily one trade might not care very much what they leave for the next coming in after them, everyone here is working together for a common cause and really can’t do enough for each other. That’s what makes it so special.”
Over the course of the works, this unassuming north Wales property will play host to over 70 volunteers, whilst the local community has also thrown in its support, with surrounding businesses delivering food, and a nearby pub lodging BoB personnel in rooms free of charge. Not only that, but Mold-based Rowlands Contracting have paid for skips, a grab lorry, and have supplied an excavator and manpower.
Two of the people to give up their time are plumbing and heating engineers, Robbie Browne and Sam Coaker, the latter the proprietor of Norfolk-based S Coaker Heating, with both undertaking a combi boiler conversion on Cher’s home. “The atmosphere of working for a greater good and the camaraderie is infectious,” enthuses Sam. “We’re just doing what we do on a daily basis but, in this instance, it’s making an untold difference to someone’s life.”
It’s an opinion that Robbie reiterates: “The events of the last year have made it clearer than ever that we do need to help each other where we can and that’s where Band of Builders is providing such a great example.”
“I really don’t have the words to express how much this will mean to me, and I’m so very grateful for everyone who is taking part,” declares Cher. “It’s completely overwhelming to think that complete strangers would come together to help.”
If you want to get involved with Band of Builders visit https://www.bandofbuilders.org/
BEST FOOT FORWARD
In addition to taking on bigger projects Band of Builders has also developed a number of commercial partnerships in recent years, with V12 Footwear one of the companies to step up to the challenge and pledge to raise funds.
“From the moment I heard of the charity, I knew we should throw all we could at it to support such a great cause,” reveals Managing Director, Andy Turner. “We feel humbled and privileged to be involved in a support program for Band of Builders.”
On Cher’s project many of the BoB volunteers and staff were sporting the latest in V12 footwear – the V2150 BoB Charity Boot. Featuring exclusive Band of Builders laces, every pair sold will see £5 donated to the charity.
Tony Steel, Operations Director at Band of Builders, said: “To receive backing from a company like V12 is yet another great development for Band of Builders. They’ve got some exciting plans that we know will not only raise funds but will be really engaging for both our members and supporters. Our motto at BoB has always been ‘TogetherStronger’ and V12 really get that – coming together with us to help us achieve even more and help more people.”
Just because you’re helping a charity doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on any of the features you’d expect from high-quality safety footwear. The boots feature a lightweight composite safety toecap, cushioned anti-fatigue insole and moisture-wicking lining to keep feet cool and dry. There’s also a flexible anti-penetration steel midsole for underfoot protection, all finished in suede leather.
For further information on the V12 V2150 BoB Charity Boot visit https://v12footwear.com/products/v2150-bob