Prince’s Trust team member Jamaica Luke reports on a painting and decorating project for Lifecraft in Cambridge.
We were Team 35 and our community project was at Lifecraft, a self-help organisation supporting people who have experienced mental health difficulties. It offers various activities such as art, singing, and meditation sessions to help users in their recovery and has its own radio programme, Making Mental Notes, helping to promote mental health issues. The charity was founded in 1993 and is still expanding.
Lifecraft had two rooms that needed repainting – they had been painted previously in bright colours and the centre manager wanted them returned to plain white. This was going to require a lot of work.
The week before the project we undertook a number of fundraising activities to enable us to buy the tools and equipment we needed to complete the job. We managed to raise a total of £179 through a tombola, raffle and cake sale at the college – we even dressed up as zombies. Lifecraft supplied the paint and we used our funds to buy brushes, rollers, paint trays and general decorating supplies.
The first few days were spent preparing the surfaces by sanding, filling and cleaning, and then it was all hands on deck. We all got stuck in with either glossing, or painting walls and ceilings.
The large room presented its own challenges for us as it was still being used every afternoon. This meant we could only work until lunchtime and the room and its furniture had to be returned to normal every day. The smaller room presented a different challenge: it was painted bright purple so needed a number of coats but there wasn’t room for many people to work in there at the same time.
We probably put at least three coats on to each surface, needless to say it took us the full two weeks to complete the job and clean up after ourselves.
Overall we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We learned decorating skills as well as gaining experience of working in a team to get a task completed to a deadline. The staff at Lifecraft reported that they were very pleased with the professional quality of the work we had done for them – so much so, that they provided us with some edible treats which we enjoyed on the final Friday afternoon.