In May, corporate volunteers from Weil Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP transformed the homes of two families supported by SHS.
Cost of project: £4,000 for both family’s homes, fundraised by Weil volunteers
People power: 20 volunteers, two teams of 10 on the day and five helpers pre-event
A long day: 10 hours of work, 8 am until 6 pm
Rooms renovated: three bedrooms, two living rooms across two homes
|“DIY SHS was a massive opportunity for me and my family. It has given me a fresh start.”|
An early start
After months of preparation, consultation and planning, the volunteers met in East London to begin the big day. Weil volunteers took Grace’s family to the London Aquarium and Sharon’s family to London Zoo for a fun day away from the work taking place.
The DIY SHS team commenced by clearing away furniture, much of which was broken and worse for wear, and cleaning all the walls before starting with fresh coats of paint. Whilst half of each team were painting, other team members were assembling the brand new flat-pack furniture. The volunteers had taken a lot of time to carefully design the rooms, making sure the families were involved in terms of colours and aesthetic.
Grace lives with her four children in a two-bedroom maisonette. She shares one of the rooms with her three young children. They already had a triple bunk bed, but one bed was too broken to use. Grace herself slept on a mattress. The team bought a new triple bunk bed for the children and assembled a bed frame for Grace. They also added in extra furniture such as storage, blinds and curtains, and one volunteer also donated a three-piece leather suite.
|“The makeover has brought a lot of joy back and I have peace of mind again. It’s been a real confidence booster in humanity.”|
Sharon lives with her two children in a one-bedroom flat. They were sleeping on two double beds, but one was broken and lots of Sharon’s storage furniture was broken too. The Weil volunteers recreated the bedroom with two single beds and a double bed. They also purchased a brilliant sofa bed for the living room, allowing Sharon her own sleeping space if she wants it.
The magic of a dining table
Having a space to gather, eat, and socialise cannot be understated. Being able to share meals as a family and talk about the day is a powerful way to bond and check in with each other. Using this space to complete homework is also highly important for both children and parents/carers to engage in school and learning. Before DIY SHS, neither Grace nor Sharon had a dining table. Now they do.
|“My kids now sit at the table and talk to each other which they were not able to do before – my youngest daughter is now eating with a knife and fork. The kids are now proud of their home and have started to invite friends round.”|
The big reveal
Both Grace, Sharon, and their children were overwhelmed at the changes when they arrived home from their days out. Grace cried tears of happiness throughout the tour of her improved home, and her children excitedly used their new shoe rack for the first time. Sharon couldn’t believe how much the Weil volunteers had achieved – she was really worried she wouldn’t like it, but treasures all the new furniture with pride.
Thank you, Weil!
On behalf of the SHS team and the families involved, thank you to every volunteer that dedicated their time to fundraise, organise, design and renovate!
|“Thank you is not enough – you did not have to do this but you did. So many people have taken time to make a home for me and my family.”|
What did our volunteers think?
|“Was it hard work? Yes. Was it stressful? At times, yes! Was it challenging? Yes. Did I work with others I don’t normally work with? Yes. Was there team spirit? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes, yes yes!”|
|“Absolutely fantastic experience and would not hesitate to volunteer again.”|
|“This was a very hard but rewarding activity. I got to work with people I don’t normally interact with […] I would do it again in a heartbeat.”|
|“DIY SHS is a very special and powerful team challenge; ten hours of non-stop hard work that results in a tangible social impact. But before all of that even happened, our team had to meticulously plan the renovation developing skills such as project management, fundraising, designing, procurement, and budgeting. There are many moving parts to DIY SHS which is what makes it the ultimate volunteering experience.”|
– Rob Powell Head of Pro Bono & CR, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP