What started as an idea to help homeless people in south London has led to a Camberwell-based charity receiving £24,470 to help their quest to give disadvantaged women better opportunities in life.
Willmott Dixon Interiors (WDI) initially teamed up with Thames Reach, based at Peckham Road, to support their ‘Moving In, Moving On’ programme to equip women who experience long-term unemployment and homelessness with practical skills and confidence to help them find employment.
It was the idea of Connor Lambourne, a building manager at WDI who, as part of a companywide trainee challenge, wanted to support ‘Moving In, Moving On’ by leading a team delivering skills training and mentoring to a group of women supported by the charity.
Connor’s project involved over ten women from Thames Reach learning important skills and making new contacts over a number of weeks as they helped Connor and his WDI team paint, decorate and generally improve Age UK’s Southwark and Lewisham Healthy Living Centre in Bermondsey to provide residents with a better place to socialise and make new friends.
The success of the project led to Connor winning Willmott Dixon’s national trainee challenge, which led to Thames Reach being the chosen charity when Willmott Dixon chief executive Rick Willmott led a senior management team in completing the gruelling Cyclotour du Léman, a cycling event in Switzerland where riders pedal 180km around Lake Léman on one day, starting and finishing in Zurich.
Nearly ten riders achieved the feat and in the process raised £24,470, with the money handed over this week by Connor to Thames Reach’s fundraising manager Catherine Hickey, who said: “We are extremely grateful to Willmott Dixon Interiors for their fantastic efforts in raising funds which will go towards supporting our employment and skills programmes at our Employment Academy in Camberwell. Our full range of courses and workshops enable people to get the skills and training they need to find employment or volunteer work.
“On behalf of Thames Reach, we’d like to say a huge thank you for taking part in this challenge and helping us work towards our vision of ending street homelessness.”
WDI is behind some iconic London projects like fitting-out a new home for the Design Museum and creating the London Screen Academy in north London to train future film directors. The company has delivered over 200,000m² of new interior space in London over the last five years, including new hospitality facilities at Twickenham’s East Stand.
Connor said, “Our company vision is that we have a purpose beyond profit and this includes our people actively helping to support and strengthen society’s wellbeing. This means all our people get to be involved in projects to help those less advantaged than us and I’m really proud of what we have achieved for Thames Reach.”