Shelter Dorset: the power of a makeover

Shelter Dorset: the power of a makeover

Volunteers for Shelter Dorset have been hard at work doing hub and home makeovers. In the most recent home makeover, volunteers helped a family who’d been living in temporary accommodation settle into their new home by doing decorating and DIY.

‘It makes such a big difference to our service users,’ hub manager Kate Parker said. ‘It’s about making the house a home.’

The makeover is thanks to B&Q employees, who volunteer for Shelter as part of our corporate partnership. 14 staff worked over two days painting and decorating the clients’ new home. B&Q also generously supply all the materials, including paint, brushes and fittings.

After a period of being homeless and living in temporary accommodation, the family were delighted to be offered longer term accommodation in a housing association property, but it ‘was a little worn looking,’ Kate said. So, the B&Q volunteers came in to ‘give the place a freshen up’. This included painting the youngest daughter’s bedroom pink under her direction and putting up new blinds, shelves and pictures.

B&Q home makeover

‘Every household that comes to us is somebody who has experienced some kind of difficulty or issue with their housing,’ Kate said, adding that this family had faced ‘tricky personal experiences, so we wanted this move to feel like a real positive thing for them.’ The family were very grateful for the help from the volunteers. They said they ‘couldn’t believe that people would give their time like that.’

The home makeover is part of a wider partnership between Shelter and B&Q, who are engaging in 50 projects to celebrate 50 years of B&Q. These projects include working with Shelter to improve the homes of clients. ‘B&Q volunteers bring both valuable skills and time to the home makeover projects,’ Ellie Marcus, Corporate Account and Volunteer Executive, said. She added: ‘It’s not just DIY skills that they bring to the day though, but also skills such as project management, budgeting and leadership, to ensure that the day is as successful as possible.’

This is the second Shelter Dorset service user’s home that B&Q volunteers have helped to decorate. Kate said they want to get the point of finding one client each year who would benefit from help with decorating their home.

And it’s not just service users’ homes that are getting a makeover in Dorset. The hub makeover has led to improvements in Shelter’s Bournemouth office, thanks to help from another corporate partner HSBC. On three different occasions, HSBC teams have given their time to help decorate the Shelter Dorset offices, to make them more inviting for clients and a better working environment for staff. One team came back for their third volunteering day in June.

‘We’ve got a space we don’t really use much at the moment in our basement, but they’re going to help us decorate that and liven it up so that we can use it for service user events,’ Kate said, adding that grants from HSBC allowed the hub to purchase new furniture, blinds and plants. ‘It just really gives it a nice environment,’ Kate added.

Kate said that the hub and home makeovers are ‘a marrying of two really positive things.’ She added that: ‘The hub makeover will enable us to do more service user involvement activities…that give us the chance to understand more about what people have been experiencing. It helps us tailor our service to meet people’s needs better.’

‘The further reaching benefits of it are that it will help me understand the situations people are in better and actually make sure that the service we’re offering meets that need.’

If you need housing advice or support from Shelter Dorset, then come visit us at 30 Poole Hill, Bournemouth, BH2 5PS.

You can find out more about Shelter Dorset by visiting our website.