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Changing Rooms in the Community with Warwick Volunteers

Painting and decorating volunteers
Painting and decorating volunteers
Originally published 13 March 2003

A team of Warwick student volunteers are giving Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen a run for his money. The "hit squad" of decorators from the University are getting down to some serious painting and wallpapering in the local area to help refugees, the homeless and elderly people.

The scheme, organised by Warwick Volunteers, helps those in need to improve their homes and surroundings. The service is free of charge and students have received a steady stream of requests from households, mainly in the Coventry and Leamington area. The scheme is so popular that requests are already coming in for more makeovers next term.

Kate Drury, a third year Engineering student, and project leader for the painting and decorating scheme said: "We turn the houses and flats we visit into real homes. Sometimes the housing needs a lick of paint and sometimes it needs a more radical overhaul."

Volunteers are not expected to be expert decorators. "You don't need to be Handy Andy. The only requirement is the ability to hold a brush," said Kate. "It's good fun and it's hard not to have a laugh when you are covered in paint from rollering a ceiling."

The real benefits are for the people whose rooms are transformed by the crack decorating team. The volunteers have tackled school foyers, community centres, homeless shelters as well as homes and flats. "We have had thank you cards from everyone. People are always very pleased with the standards and are impressed with the results," said Kate.

The Painting and Decorating scheme is ideal for those students and staff who are unable to commit to a regular volunteering project. Kate is keen for more people to get involved: "Volunteering is very rewarding as well as great fun, and gives a unique insight into the challenges people face living in the local community."

Warwick Volunteers was established in October 2002 and funded by HEFCE. The project provides opportunities for students and staff at the University to volunteer in the local community, and runs an ever-growing range of projects.

More information about the Painting and Decorating scheme is available from the
Warwick Volunteers website.