Volunteering to build new homes can cement new skills

JUNE 1-7th is the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week*. Individuals or organisations looking for a new volunteer experience in the north west of England should consider the Housing People, Building Communities project in Liverpool.

ISG Project Director, Frank Joyce at the HPBC site

ISG Project Director, Frank Joyce at the HPBC site

The award winning housing charity offers a unique opportunity for people to help build new homes on a live building site – learning new skills, gaining confidence, meeting new people, improving communications, boosting their CV or simply giving something back to society.

The charity keeps the cost of its homes down through the use of volunteers – including 500 hours spent working on site by those who will eventually living in one of the 32 homes.

Liza Parry, chief executive said: 'Our volunteers are a mix of individuals, students, corporate volunteers and community, interest and faith groups. They get involved in nearly all aspects of construction under the supervision of our qualified site staff.  Over the years we’ve welcomed more than 12,000 volunteers to our Kingsley Road site, many of them coming from overseas to experience our unique project.'

Throughout 2013, the site hosted around 1,200 volunteers - 350 of them from overseas - who between them contributed almost 8,000 hours.  The charity is hoping to exceed those totals in 2014.

Among those who’ve volunteered in recent weeks is a group of 30 project team members led by ISG, the company responsible for the construction of over £50 million worth of projects at the new Exhibition Centre Liverpool development, located at ACC Liverpool.  They’re now planning a second team-build day on June 12.

Frank Joyce, ISG’s project director, commented: “The opportunity to combine a team-building session with putting something back into the community proved a perfect and rewarding combination for all participants. We always look to support local charitable initiatives in the areas where we work, and it was an excellent opportunity for many of us to use our built environment expertise on such an important project. We received great feedback from all those involved and look forward to supporting the charity again in June.”

International volunteers this year have included a group from the Emmanuel International Church, in Paris, who spent five days working on the site; and the charity regularly hosts French students from La Rochelle Business School and the Engineering University in Paris. Others helping out on the building site have included Wirral school teachers and construction apprentices from Hugh Baird College.  

Liza added: “Ideal candidates for volunteering with HPBC include students looking to gain valuable work experience, HR managers in search of a novel team-building exercise for their staff, and unemployed or retired joiners, plumbers, electricians, etc, looking to keep their skills honed. However we also have opportunities for individuals or groups of people simply looking to do something productive and worthwhile with their spare time.”

To find out more contact Liza Parry, tel: 0151 707 9440, email: liza@hpbc.org.uk.

* Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which takes place on 1-7 June. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. It’s run by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.