Construction business Evolution helps residents gain essential life skills

A CONSTRUCTION company which puts communities at the heart of its operations is helping tenants gain essential skills.

Evolution, which creates better places for people to live across the North-West by delivering quality private housing and social housing, is donating its time and expertise to help residents.

Building communities in Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria, Blackpool-based Evolution is working in partnership with Borrow It Blackpool to support a series of skills workshops over the next 12 months.

Evolution Managing Director JJ Fitzgerald said: “Providing tenants with better places to live is always the focus of our work, and it makes sense to extend our support by sharing our expertise and skills to help tenants develop these skills. It’s part of building thriving communities which is at the core of everything we do at Evolution.”

Evolution MD JJ Fitzgerald

Evolution Contracts Manager Paul Garforth and team will be demonstrating their skills and coaching tenants at the first two workshops this month.

They will be giving a decorating demonstration at Molyneux Community Centre, Blackpool on November 23, 10am-2pm and a DIY demonstration at Argosy Community Centre, Blackpool on November 28, 10am-2pm.

Borrow It Blackpool is run by charity The Volunteer Centre, Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde, and was launched in June 2023, with funding from Better Start Blackpool, a Lottery- funded bid to improve the lives of 0-4 year-olds in the seven most deprived wards in Blackpool. It has since received funding from Blackpool Council and Blackpool Coastal Housing Tenant Support Fund.

Borrow It Blackpool runs a community lending library scheme – where it takes Household, DIY, Gardening or Leisure items donated by the community or businesses, assesses them, repairs them and puts them on its website for people to borrow.

Anyone wanting to borrow the items pays a £10 membership fee for 12 months. Those who would struggle to make that payment are invited to complete a financial assessment to receive support from the organisation’s cost of living team.

Funding from the Blackpool Coastal Housing Tenant Support Fund has enabled Borrow It Blackpool to fund 16 workshops at Blackpool Coastal Housing Community Centres, over the next year – four each in DIY and Decorating which Evolution are supporting and four each in Cooking (supported by SCRAN cookery school) and Sewing (supported by a professional seamstress).

Matthew Winder, Project Coordinator of Borrow It Blackpool, said: “What we have been finding with the lending library is people are saying to us they would love to borrow the equipment but they don’t know how to use it. That’s when we came up with the idea of the Learn and Loan workshops so we would give people the skills as well as the equipment.

“It’s like the old adage, if you give a person a fish it will feed them for a day, if you teach them how to fish it will feed them for life. We are very grateful to Evolution and our other partners for helping us turn that vision into a reality. If there are other businesses who would also like to support us we would love to hear from them.”

Evolution will also be donating a range of tools to Borrow It Blackpool, including paste tables, four roller brush and tray sets, four tool bags with 40 pieces in each, four sealant guns, four decorators’ knives, four scuttle buckets, wall scanners and four drills (including two donated by City Electrical Factors (CEF), Blackpool).

Attendees of the workshops need to be a Borrow It Blackpool member. A 12-month membership is available here https://www.borrowitblackpool.co.uk/product/membership/

Contact Matt at the Volunteer Centre on matthew@blackpoolvolunteers.org.uk or call 07483 041029 for more information about Borrow It Blackpool.

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