The one with the cowboy builders

Just a short update this week as it’s already 5pm and I am determined to stick with my resolution to do this once a week. I’ve done well so far, and I’m not about to give up now.

It’s been another week of random tasks. My client who produces promotional films sent over a batch of rushes for me to complete, all on a variety of topics. I always find these so interesting, not only because you can learn some really amazing things about an eclectic range of topics, but also because they seem to have so much fun producing them! I’m still kind of hoping I may get invited on their Christmas do one year. Hint, hint.

As always I’ve spent a decent amount of time this week blogging. Topics have included apps to keep you on track with New Year’s resolutions, Valentine’s day craft ideas for children and an opinion piece on Trump’s so-called Muslim ban. The latter was quite challenging as the opinion I was asked to offer was widely different to my actual one!

My biggest challenge

The biggest challenge this week has been a very unique one. Most people know I work closely with The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity. Just before Christmas we received a referral from a social worker at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital who expressed concerns about a family she was working with.

The 14 year old son had a brain tumour, and the family were living in unsuitable accommodation. Essentially, the family had paid builders to adapt the home to better meet Hashim’s changing needs post surgery, but they had been ripped off. The builders disappeared with over £11,000 of the family’s money, and left the house in a state!

With the money lost, and facing up to £35,000 worth of costs to put the property right again, the family were unable to finance it. This is why we were approached to see what help we could provide. After working with the family, Dawn was able to get the story covered in the local Rochdale press, and as a result the Mercer Group came forward to say they would do the building work for free. One of the suppliers was also going to donate all the materials that were needed – so there would be no cost to the family.


Then we realised we had to find somewhere else for the family to stay whilst the work is being undertaken. Hashim is at high risk of infection, and cannot live in a dirty or dusty environment for risk of compromising his health. The whole family (two adults and seven children) must be relocated by Saturday, 4th February as work is due to start on Monday, 6th February.

Trying to find somewhere in a tight geographical area, for such a large number of people is no easy task. I have lost count of how many hotels, B&Bs, holiday cottages, caravan parks, landlords, letting agents and local council departments I have spoken to this week.

Not only has it been a difficult task, but it’s been emotionally draining too. This is “real” stuff. This is people’s lives, and it really, really matters. It’s not just a case of sending an email, or making sure someone has the right outfit for a night out. It’s been stressful for all concerned.

I am delighted to say that on Thursday we got confirmation that a solution had been found – and the work can therefore go ahead as planned. There is still a really long way to go, and we are continuing to raise funds to help with the temporary relocation, but thanks to some really amazing people with hearts of gold, the end is at least in sight now.

A huge thanks also to everyone who commented and shared my appeals for help, and who provided advice and suggestions throughout the week. I really do appreciate it – and I will always remember who took the time.

My highlight

While my highlight could easily be the resolution to the challenge, I think I’m still too exhausted from it all to see it as such right now. That will be the week it all gets finished and the family can move back home!

This week instead I am buzzing from the fact a client I did a CV for has landed his dream job. After months of applying for roles that weren’t suited for him, I sat him down and had a long chat about his aspirations and his skill set. Working with this information I helped him with his job search, and created a unique CV for one particular role.

When he landed an interview I went through some practice sessions with him to help him gain confidence, and it’s safe to say he totally nailed it! He starts in two weeks and I honestly couldn’t be happier for him. Finding the perfect job really does make all the difference.

Well, that’s me for another week. I hope you all have an amazing weekend, and I shall catch up with you again on Monday!

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