1st Apr 2019
As you may have read in our January edition, when the call went out for Barr Group staff and associates to help out on an SOS community build project, the team were keen to help. The SOS was in response to a need at RAW Workshop in Blackbird Leys to further support the young people who were coming through their doors – the 'RAW Potential'. The plan was to build a workshop/coaching room where the RAW Potential lead, Charlie, and his team, can access and engage with those in need of their support.
Since then the RAW Potential cabin has gone from a basic scheme to a ready to use workshop space – soundproofed, insulated, glazed, lit, live and ready for action. It is now just waiting on a few wall murals, with a kind offer of supply from Impact Signs, Aylesbury. With a splash of paint, kindly donated by Brewers of Horspath and some multi-use furnishing, we are hoping the BarrJoinery team can help the RAW Potential recruits to make it their own!
Day one, the first Saturday, saw some ‘RAW’ sweat and grit from the StuartBarr CDR team. It turns out that the Barr Group Directors can still jump on the tools and show some pretty impressive site carpentry skills! The day also involved a few trips out in Charlie’s van, the first was to Blanchford Building Supplies, Headington – where we filled up with generously donated joist hangers, ply and screws – only to fly straight back for pictures by the Oxford Times photographer and a quick telephone interview with BBC Radio Oxford.
By late morning, 24 cups of builder’s tea and 12 bacon sandwiches later, the main frame was up - except for one last section. The timber kindly donated (and delivered directly to RAW) by Jewson’s Wheatley had run out and the team were in mini-crisis! Never fear. We hopped back into Charlie’s van and charged, ‘Anneka Rice style’, into Buildbase, 5 minutes from midday closing, where Craig, the store manager was behind the desk. He took the ambush very well and didn’t miss a beat, donating the last of the 4x2 lengths. Thank you, Craig!
In fact, the response from each and every supplier we asked was overwhelmingly positive - coming together with a great big heartfelt YES to our request for materials and valuable skillsets alike.
Day two saw some fun insulation action (some of us may be unskilled but we learn fast!) followed by the more technical board cutting and cladding, for a perfect finish. Kevin McGrath, Area Sales Manager for Travis Perkins, arranged a donation of two batches of the now trendy ‘OSB’ (one from Littlemore and the other from the Abingdon branch) to clad the entire cabin!
High on the list of RAW heroes was Emmett from Quod Electrical - who gave up an entire Saturday (plus a recce trip) to safely provide the cabin with the light and power essential for its final function. Simon from LAMPS, Long Crendon, provided the electrical suppliers for him to be able to create his magic. Thank you, fellas!
Last but not least Tom Shanks and Jamie Osborne, our own RAW heroes, having project managed the cabin build, finished off their two-day mission by skillfully hanging the door (kindly donated by Howdens, Cowley)… and closed it, for now, on a job well done. The team here at the Barr Group are excited about what the cabin will offer to its inhabitants, as they nest, learn and move on from it - possibly into the wider world of ‘doing good with wood’. We are hoping to see some of them here at the Barr Group in the future!