I don’t remember if you know, but a couple of years ago we raised some money for our friends at Birchwood Centre to help decorate some of their rooms and we had lots of fun. So much fun, that we decided to do it again to finish off what we started.

The Birchwood Centre is a homeless charity situated in Skelmersdale. Our office – our wonderful Tree House – is only a short drive away from Birchwood, and we struck up a relationship with their team there some time ago. They’re awesome people and the young people in the centre are awesome! This is a great combination, and we love to help any way we can. Hence the idea last year to walk up the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise money to finish the rest of our work off. We were determined: we will finish all of the rooms!

So last month, we arranged a day trip to Birchwood to complete this renovation. The whole company got involved. We started the way we always start these events: with a whopping great breakfast.

After breakfast and breaking into our three teams (one team per room, as the rooms needed to be stripped, painted, furniture and decor to be bought and assembled all in the space of 6 hours) we headed across to the centre. We were ready to go!

After a brief look around the centre and saying “hello!” to some of the young people there, each team assembled to start planning their day. There were two of the standard rooms and one flat for older residents, a function that allows them to get used to independent living, ready for moving on. Each team was given a budget and freedom with how they decorated.

The way the work was divided was between the painters, the decorators and the shoppers. There was a lot of each job to do, so people had to get cracking quickly!

It was really lovely to see everyone working together towards such a wonderful cause. It was also equally as funny to see Foodies covered in paint, dust, and after lunch especially, Subway marinara sauce.

As the day went on, and the first coat of paint became the third (especially for the room with BRIGHT yellow walls) and cupboards, bedside tables and even at one point a bed was assembled (Cheryl, Luke, Imogen and Tom sat on a bed and the slats from beneath fell through, a sign of a few too many mince pies in the office over Christmas, surely) the daylight drew to a close.

After a brief all-hands-on-deck moment to get the rooms finished on time, the young people were shown around and their faces were an excellent sight to behold. So after a full, fun day of decorating and eating tons of Kitkats and drinking a whole bunch of Diet Coke, we headed back to the office to end the day the only way we knew how: with a whopping great big dinner. Ah, what a lovely day.