Foundation Trainee Challenge: The Willmott Dixon Foundation Trainee Challenge gives a handful of our final year trainees the opportunity to lead a project from conception to completion.
Management trainee Gerard and his team from our London and East office, renovated two children’s homes which cater for children with special needs. They also strengthened ties with local social enterprises.
Foxgloves and Sunflower House are short-stay children’s homes that support young people with learning disabilities. The homes create a safe, positive experience for these young people and provide essential respite for parents.
However, money is tight and some of the facilities needed updating. For example, Foxgloves’ outdoor area contained equipment that was unsafe for the children to use.
At Foxgloves, Gerard and his team organised the removal of unsafe equipment, creating space for a new paved seating area, a raised vegetable bed, gave the whole garden a heavy cut back to allow the facility to take back control and created an outdoor planting scheme. They also brightened up Foxgloves’ interior.
The children at Sunflower house said they longed for a race track for their remote-control cars, until one child said it would be even better if they could take their wheelchairs around the track too. So, Gerard arranged for our generous supply chain partners, Aden and Spadeoak, to help build a 67-metre wheelchair track for these children to race on. In addition, the team built an accessible kitchen area in the garden, so that the children can learn to cook in their wheelchairs.
Gerard also fundraised £1,100 to buy materials, toys and books for the homes.
Furthermore, the team has strengthened ties with local social enterprises by holding a social enterprise meet and greet and organising a wood-working day at St Albans Community Wood Recycling. The facility collects waste wood and uses it to create work and training for local disadvantaged people. As part of the wood-working day, the team built furniture, selling their items to raise money to donate to the social enterprise.