Something we feel strongly about at ao.com is giving back to our local community, and to worthy causes in need of a helping hand.
Just this month, a group of our guys worked tirelessly to transform a Bolton shelter for vulnerable young people as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and the results were breathtaking.
Castle House, run by the Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme (BYPHS), is an emergency overnight accommodation for 16-21 year olds in Bolton. Providing young people in need with a room for the night, the centre makes sure tenants are well fed, with an evening meal, supper and breakfast the next morning.
Adam Thomas, Amy Boff, Heather Wood, Jess Litherland, Jose Malaspina, Kay Bowes, Lauren Bullock, Natalie Jackson and Natalie Hendry worked together to decorate and furnish a relaxation area for tenants to enjoy. The guys are the very first groups from ao.com to participate in the prestigious Gold DofE Business Award, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.
They took just nine hours to clear out the room, repaint and wallpaper it using paper from our friends at Graham and Brown. Using a budget provided by BYPHS fundraising, they updated the soft furnishing including new curtains, a new sofa and tables and chairs to create an inviting communal living area for the young people using the shelter.
Kay Bowes, one of the nine-strong team that redecorated the shelter, said: “Giving the young people in the shelter somewhere cool and relaxing to socialise was an extremely rewarding experience. Seeing the faces of the Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme charity workers when they saw the transformation was worth it. I can’t wait for our next project, and another opportunity to help those in need.”
Chris Havard, who organises the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme at ao.com, oversaw the day’s events and was overwhelmed by the results, saying: “Decorating the shelter was a fantastic event, and a great example of the things our team can achieve when they work together. Our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group volunteered to do this in their own time, threw themselves into the project and Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme are absolutely over the moon with the outcome.”
Dianne Gilmore, manager of Castle House, is very pleased with the work the team did, saying: “I would like to thank the ao.com team on behalf of the residents and staff at Castle House for their hard work and dedication in transforming our lounge from a dark and very tired looking room to a one that’s bright, modern and homely. The young people spend most of their evenings in the lounge and they now have a lovely room where they can relax and are comfortable doing so.”
She added: “The ao.com team were great. They were both very professional and passionate about what they were doing, while keeping us informed all the way. They worked very hard to achieve what they did in just one day.”
The ao.com DofE group have just come back from the North of the Lake District, completing the final expedition of their Award.
They will receive their Awards early in 2015, presented by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at St James’ Palace, Westminster.
We hope the work our team did to help the local community will make a real positive impact. A big well done to everyone involved!