National building and maintenance contractor United Living has put forward more than half of its entire workforce – 350 members of staff – to each donate a day of their time towards community projects across the country.
From Altrincham to Bristol, Swansea to Wolverhampton and West London, the employees of United Living, whose company headquarters are based in Swanley, Kent, were involved in everything from laying concrete slabs to painting fences, gardening, helping with foodbanks and supporting homelessness charities over the course of a typical 9-5 working shift on Friday 7 September.
With support from 20 sub-contractors, United Living employees worked together to donate more than 2,800 hours – equivalent to a full year’s worth of work for one person (including weekends). The projects included:
- Improvement works to the outdoor areas of a Dementia inpatient ward at Grenoside Grange Hospital in Sheffield. With the support of 11 volunteers including United Living staff and members of the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, work was undertaken to install an outdoor tap and an electrical point, and to paint outdoor fences and planters and install a new working shed.
- Upgrading the Venture Community Association’s site in Wornington Green. To save the management team from applying for additional funding, United Living employees refurbished and redecorated a dilapidated stage area at the community arts centre, as well as building new storage units, removing unwanted items and making improvements to the interior décor.
- At Rhodes Moorhouse Court – military charity Haig Housing’s biggest new build development in the UK since the 1950s – the site team extended a patio paving area for a shared apartments block. The extension of the space was much-needed for the elderly, ex-military residents who live in the 12 surrounding properties and had previously made use of a relatively small outdoor area.
- Supporting Swansea City Council with the refurbishment of Brynmelyn Community Centre, which is run by a voluntary management committee and provides a range of services for local disadvantaged people in the community. United Living staff painted and decorated the external building and doors, and railings leading to the single storey property.
- Improving facilities at a Nursery in Retford with the support of ten members of staff. This included tidying up the garden and play areas, painting fencing and putting up outdoor screening. One of United Living’s joiners built a wooden container to store children’s toys and has built a small kitchen area. Another joiner made some planters and a new game was created by the team to fit to an outdoor wall.
- Working with Merlin Housing to help re-instate a local children’s reflective garden at a Primary School in Pucklechurch, Bristol. United Living staff weeded the entire site, painted the surrounding fencing, and repaired benches and planters to bring the garden back to life.
- Supporting Manchester Central Foodbank, with United Living staff volunteering for the day to help with sorting and delivering food parcels, arranging new donations, and meeting and assisting with the foodbank clients.
- Revamping a large section of grounds within The Kingswood Trust’s outdoor learning centre in Wolverhampton, which is used by local schools and charities.
- Supporting Kent homelessness charity Porchlight by laying decking and painting at a community garden in Northfleet. The team of United Living staff spent the day cutting, painting and laying decking and also painting garden fencing to create a space for the community to use.
- Refurbishing a scout hall in Crockenhill. A team of 65 people spent the day painting walls, ceilings and the outside of the building, as well as hanging noticeboards, tiling the bathrooms and giving the garden area a makeover.
Ian Burnett, chief executive of United Living, said: “People and communities are at the heart of everything we do as a construction and maintenance business. That’s why every year, we ensure that one day in September is dedicated exclusively to supporting projects and initiatives which are making a real difference in the areas where we work.
Our community day is a way of celebrating our core values and bringing our team together to dedicate extra time towards some of the many projects that we strive to support as a business throughout the year. These are projects in which all of our staff can contribute in some shape or form; whether that’s by making donations, volunteering time, proactively transforming residential and community spaces, or providing work opportunities through training and apprentices.”
United Living’s Community Day took place on Friday 7 September.