Homeless project benefits from professional makeover
Published by M Parker for Home Group in Housing
Home Group director of care and support Rachael Byrne with client Karl Sanders giving a speech
A CENTRE for young people at risk of homelessness has been given a new lease of life.
People living at a project which provides accommodation for 16 to 25-year-olds will be able to relax in style thanks to a £20,000 project which has seen their home revamped into stylish accommodation.
Clients at Morris House in Solihull will be able to socialise and engage in workshops and activities in modern surroundings after members of the Association of Interior Specialists (AIS) provided expertise, funding and materials worth £20,000 to revamp communal areas in the building.
Morris House is run by care and support organisation Stonham – part of Home Group. It provides accommodation to nine young people who would otherwise be homeless and also supports 15 other young people from three nearby services.
The refurbishment by AIS members involved transforming a tired, uninspiring activity room into a vibrant multi-purpose room in which clients and staff can enjoy spending time.
Work included replacing fire doors, upgrading electrics and skylights, painting and decorating and fitting new carpet throughout much of the downstairs communal areas. New furniture, artwork and other fixtures and fittings were also donated.
Stonham staff and clients worked with AIS staff to decorate the lounge and lobby area, with some young people enjoying the process so much they have now decided to pursue a career in interior design.
Rachael Byrne, Home Group director of care and support, said: “We’re delighted that AIS selected us to benefit from their community work. The most valuable thing about seeing our service go through this much needed make over is that our clients and colleagues from different businesses worked together.
“It’s really important for our young people to meet people new people, learn from them and hopefully through those new connections it will mean they have greater opportunities for the future.”
AIS represents companies involved in the supply and installation of all aspects of interior fit out.
Jane Cook, AIS operations director, said: “We wanted to do something that not only AIS staff could be involved in, but also our members, so a fit out made perfect sense.
“It’s the first time we have attempted something like this and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our members. The finished result has surpassed all our expectations.’
One of the clients who took part in the project was Karl Sanders. The 19-year-old said: “I lived a very turbulent life before coming to Stonham but while I’ve been here I’ve been able to get back on my feet.
“Not only has it been somewhere for me to live but this project has potentially given me a new career. I’ve really enjoyed the painting and decorating and working with the people from AIS.”
Jane added: “‘Karl turned out to be a real gem, working tirelessly the whole week to sand, paint and generally help out. We were so impressed we are hoping to find him some work experience with one of our members.’
Work on the project included replacing fire doors, upgrading electrics and skylights. Donations from the local branch of John Lewis will also enable Morris House to replace flooring in clients rooms.
Volunteers from Virgin Media and The Royal Bank of Scotland were also involved in the project helping to decorate communal areas and individual client rooms.