Construction firm comes to the aid of Blackpool disabled people’s group with £7,000 donation

A Blackpool organisation supporting disabled people has been given £7,000 of tools to replace ones stolen by crooks.

By Tim Gavell
Monday, 16th May 2022, 3:30 pm

National construction contractor Graham, which is behind the current work at the Houndshill centre, has donated the tools and appliances to the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living.

BCIL supports disabled communities in Blackpool with a fully accessible centre, information and signposting service.

Its woodworking team, made up of passionate volunteers with a range of disabilities, assists a whole host of projects and had most recently created items including wooden planters and bird houses, to be installed in community spaces.

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Graham’s Construction have kindly donated some new tools to the adult care team at Blackpool Centre for Independent Living after they had theirs stolen. Pictured are Nicholas Tipton and Steven Hopkins, members of the New Langdale Green Team

The team’s workshop, which provides a place to learn new skills and interact, was broken into last year, with thieves stealing the tools they had been using to make a difference to local people.

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As news of the theft broke, Blackpool Council reached out for kind-hearted benefactors who might be able to offer a helping hand.

To the amazement of the BCIL team, Graham, the lead contractor for Phase 2 of the ongoing Houndshill regeneration, donated more than 100 worth £7,000 to the New Langdale Green Team and other BCIL representatives at the centre’s premises on Whitegate Drive.

Graham Construction have donated new tools to the adult care team at Blackpool Centre for Independent Living after they had theirs stolen. Pictured are: Back row Left to right: Iain Fraser, Projects New Langdale Team, Marcus Sheen GRAHAM, Sam Peeke GRAHAM, Jack Clarke GRAHAM, Aimi O’Donnell Blackpool Council, Trevor Rayner retired (formerly Blackpool Council), Maggie Cornall Blackpool Coastal Housing, Cllr Jo Farrell Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Tracey Robinson New Langdale Manager, Neil Froggett New Langdale Coordinator, Nick Henson Head of Care and Support Adult Services, Karen Smith, Director of Adult Services, Ann Gates Operational Lead BCIL, Lindsey Bennett, Peer Support BCIL

Neil Froggett, New Langdale service coordinator, said: “The entire BCIL team was absolutely devastated to learn that the tools had been stolen. The woodworking shed had been such an instrumental part of life for many of the centre’s volunteers, supporting their mental wellbeing but also providing a chance to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“When Graham stepped forward and offered to supply the full list of items, we were completely taken aback.

"This generous contribution will kick-start the woodworking project again and allow the team to plan new and exciting projects which will bring benefits to the wider community.

“The past couple of years have seen us all living through uncertain and troubling times, so it’s all the more reason that we should celebrate acts of kindness and selflessness such as these.

"Our most heartfelt thanks go to Graham and everyone who helped to make this happen.”

Stephen Van Den Hoek, Graham operations director: “At Graham, we believe that our success is measured not only by the quality of the projects that we deliver but in the positive impact we make on the environment and the communities that we operate in.

"This donation is one example of the ways in which we can contribute to building a better future for local residents.”

Plans for the workshop include working with Blackpool Coastal Housing to produce planters, wall boxes and floral features to be distributed to houses in the scheme.

They are also set to help the council’s Growth and Prosperity Team design and build bird boxes, bat boxes and bee hotels that will feature on the new Common Edge sports changing facilities at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Coun Jo Farrell, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “This wonderful donation from Graham will help the Blackpool Centre for Independent Living team in so many ways.

"This is an absolutely fantastic example of Blackpool Council’s pledge to Social Value, working partnership with the private sector to ensure greater benefits for our communities.”

Funds have also been received from Robertson Construction (the main contractor on Talbot Gateway Phase Two development) and local charity The Russell Haldane Trust.

BCIL is open to anyone with a disability, plus their friends and family. For more information on services offered, visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/BCIL