The Pilsdon Community: A CRASH Project

The Pilsdon Community: A CRASH Project

CRASH has supported The Pilsdon Community, a working farm and refuge in Dorset, for some years. Homeless people come to the community from all walks of life, always at a time of crisis, recovering from family breakdown, mental illness, addiction or coping with bereavement.

Pilsdon consists of a house and a courtyard of farm buildings including a recently renovated barn which offers accommodation for homeless people. This was Phase I of their redevelopment plans to mark their 50th anniversary. Phase II, otherwise known as ‘The Loose Boxes’, involved converting an existing stable block into short-term accommodation for people who have been sleeping rough.

Pilsdon Community

CRASH patron EC Harris led the project and undertook a huge amount of work on a completely pro bono basis as well as making a £15,000 donation towards the funding as the company’s Legacy Project.

EC Harris Project Manager Scott Moore said: “This was an important Legacy Project for EC Harris which aimed to demonstrate our commitment to our community and showcase the positive outcomes that EC Harris and the project teams we work with can deliver. We did this through creating an exceptional project team, full of generous individuals, who worked brilliantly together towards the common goal of restoring the Community’s faith in the construction industry.”

Working alongside them was fellow CRASH patron BAM Construction which was appointed as the main contractor for this phase and successfully engaged its supply chain to procure materials and labour free of charge or at greatly reduced rates. BAM and EC Harris also introduced Arup and NVB Architects to support the project design, both companies assisting the charity by considerably reducing their professional fees for a project of this scale.

The works included the demolition of the dilapidated timber ‘loose boxes’, removal and reinstatement of ground floor slab, introduction of new drainage, erection of a new timber frame and roof structure clad with timber weatherboard and natural slate to allow occupation of half of the new building by farm animals prior to Christmas 2013.

Speaking about the impact the project will have at Pilsdon their Community Warden Michael Deegan said: “CRASH came in offering more than we could have hoped for. They put us in touch with firms such as EC Harris and BAM as well as helping us with developing our fundraising."

The works to the second half of the new building, completed at the end of March 2014, included the fit-out of the six accommodation units, a food preparation room and multi-purpose activity room. Many of the materials and labour have been sourced locally to the site in addition to a number of CRASH patrons, BAM’s loyal sub-contractors and other supporting companies who have been willing to commit their specialist expertise and resources to the project.

“There is a huge sense of satisfaction watching the new building emerge from the old; keeping its character but with a new practical purpose” says Nick Goff, Construction Director of BAM. “Working within the Community has been a very humbling experience, and we have been delighted by the generosity of our fellow CRASH patron companies, our supply-chain and BAM Plant in assisting with this worthwhile project”.

Pilsdon Community

“This was a unique, exciting project and one that enthused all those involved from the outset,” said CRASH Chief Executive Francesca Roberts. “As the industry charity, CRASH encourages companies to get directly involved in helping homelessness projects like The Pilsdon Community that ask us for assistance.”

Francesca concluded: “This project is a perfect example of what the construction industry can do working in partnership with their charity CRASH and shows the sector at its very best. It has been a pleasure privilege and honour to work with EC Harris, BAM, our patrons and all companies who have helped on this project.”

“In the region of £200,000 has been provided by CRASH and its Patrons in the form of materials, discounts, labour and cash,” said Dilys Hunt Pilsdon Community Trust.

“Since the beginning of this project, CRASH has operated in an extremely positive and professional way. Not only have they delivered on all that they promised at the outset but have consistently exceeded all our best hopes. Without exception, from the start to finish, a first class experience for Pilsdon. Thank you.”

For more information about CRASH, please read this article or call the CRASH team on 020 8742 0717.

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