Over the last few weeks, we have been one of the contributors to Give a Day to the City in Carlisle. The premise of Give a Day is to give some time or what you have to hand (skills, products etc) to someone in need. We decided that the best way to support the project was the involvement in House to Home, a team lead by Melanie Taylor who thought it may be good to transform an uninsured flooded house in Carlisle back to someone’s home.
This, I considered appropriate as we were already helping a dozen or so homes in Carlisle with refurbishment and modernization. So the team met, 6 weeks before the event and made some plans. We discussed what we could achieve, what was possible and the various roles. It seemed like a mountain to climb and we not only had 1 house but 3. Coffee was drunk, chins scratched and plans hatched.
Plans turned into actions and suppliers, sponsors and trades came together to deliver 3 houses back to homes. Mel and the GAD team have documented it all on social media and the press. We achieved what we set out to do and there is a little more work to do in one property, but we got there in the end.
The real reason I did is was not that I had skills to offer (which came in useful when pulling out a moisture meter at the right time or paintbrush) but the experiences that I had in 1998 in Warwickshire.
I was living in Leamington Spa at the time, a Graduate Engineer, living hand to mouth in a flat working a hard job to gain experience. My parents had left to move to New Zealand weeks before Easter and then on Good Friday around 2am, I was awoken by a policeman shaking me in my bedroom. My flat and belongings submerged beneath rising flood water. I lost everything, car ended up ½ mile downstream in the River Leam, all my belongings gone apart from boxer shorts I was wearing and my mountain bike that was chained up at a friend’s house near the pub.
My flat is just off the picture below, but it had a few metres of water flowing thro it.
That experience was life changing, not only did it teach me always live on a hill, but prompted a move to Cumbria eventually, and a huge amount of soul searching as a 30 year old should not have to do.
No one help me clean up my mess, landlord kicked me out and although I found somewhere to live, I had nothing to move and no insurance.
So why did I help? I guess it’s because I know what people are enduring, and the skills I that I posses can just make that little difference to people.