Shelter and B&Q: transforming homes and improving lives

Shelter and B&Q: transforming homes and improving lives

This year, as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations, B&Q delivered six home makeovers for those who have used Shelter’s services, transforming their homes and enabling them to feel safe and secure. At each makeover, our DIY Skills Advisers (DIYSAs) worked with the individuals and families to decide what home improvements would be undertaken, ensuring that they were at the heart of any work done on their homes.

The makeovers wouldn’t have been possible without B&Q volunteers bringing their enthusiasm, knowledge and passion to help make houses into homes. Below you’ll find a little more information about just how big of an impact the project has for those it helps.


The first of the makeovers took place in Dorset, where 15 B&Q volunteers helped at the home of a mother and her three children over two days. After experiencing several years of domestic abuse, the mother of the family had recently been provided with a house by the council. Volunteers worked hard to paint and decorate the home, transforming the living room, study, and daughter Jessica’s* bedroom.

The day after the makeover, the mother said: ‘Jess is in awe of her own space that she designed, and you realised her dream. She slept in her own room all night for the first time since we moved here!… As I walked through my home last night and admired and appreciated everything that such kind and wonderful people had done on our behalf I felt truly blessed.’


In Birmingham, volunteers from B&Q helped to decorate the first home one of our clients had in 10 years. The client had been moving around, living in hostels, and unable to settle down. While he was homeless, he said he felt invisible, helpless, and worthless.

Our team of volunteers helped by transforming several rooms including the living room, bathroom, and kitchen. The client said: ‘I can’t thank them enough, they don’t have to do that kind of stuff…I don’t have the words really to say what it means to me and for anyone who knows me I am never really short of things to say.’


B&Q volunteers worked hard on the garden of Don and Beryl, a married couple of 59 years, in Merseyside. The garden was a special place for them both. Gardening had always been a passion of Don’s and he previously held the prestigious position of Chairman of Whiston Garden Club. In more recent years, Don has become a wheelchair user and this combined with Beryl now having poor balance meant that the uneven paving in the garden was potentially dangerous.

With the support of the DIYSAs, our green-fingered volunteers were able to lay paving to replace the broken path, put down gravel, and plant new flowers in raised beds that will be easier to maintain. This idea was to help Don and Beryl reclaim the garden that they love but make it an easier space for them to look after and spend time in.


The Sheffield makeover was for Henry*, a 54-year-old man with learning difficulties. Henry had lived with his mother his whole life until she passed away and is now adjusting to living alone with the support of Shelter. Henry’s home hadn’t been decorated for over 30 years and was in a state of disrepair with bare walls, minimal furniture, and no space to prepare food, meaning Henry was struggling to feed himself properly.

B&Q volunteers worked alongside the two DIYSAs to prepare and paint walls, build furniture, and add soft furnishings chosen by Henry to put his own stamp on the place. Henry now has room to store his treasures safely and feels like it’s his own home. He has a place to prepare his food and the house is brighter and cleaner. He was delighted with the result and exclaimed: ‘Everything new from B&Q!’

About the Shelter and B&Q partnership

The support from B&Q volunteers makes a huge difference to the lives of Shelter’s clients, putting their bad housing situation behind them and helping them settle into their homes.

‘B&Q volunteers bring valuable skills and time to the home makeover projects,’ Ellie Marcus, Corporate Account and Volunteer Executive, said. ‘It’s not just home improvement skills that they bring to the day, but also skills such as project management, budgeting, and leadership, all to ensure that the day is a success.’

B&Q and Shelter are working together because we believe everyone should feel happy and safe in the place they call home. Since launching the partnership in 2017, B&Q colleagues and customers have raised over £1.4 million for Shelter. These donations entirely fund the charity’s DIY Skills Adviser Service.

Shelter’s DIY Skills Adviser Service provides practical help with tasks ranging from decorating to gardening and basic DIY training to people struggling with bad housing or those settling into a new home following a period of homelessness. Covering London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Merseyside, Dorset, and Bristol, Shelter’s team of trained home improvement specialists empower communities across the country to feel happier and safer in their homes.

If your company is interested in partnering with Shelter to support our work then get in touch with our corporate partnerships team.

If you’d like to volunteer for Shelter to help people suffering from bad housing or homelessness, see our list of volunteering opportunities.