Hello and welcome back for my second blog. I promised something less ‘ranty’ in my last blog and it is!
Us in a Bus moved last year from offices we had in the RNIB site in Redhill, and we’ve been at North Block for about a year now. It’s been a real labour of love – the site is a wooden hut and it had been empty for decades and used only for storage. We pay for the space we use, so over the year, we’ve been renovating rooms as we move into them, with us doing a large proportion of the preparation and manual labour. There are many brilliant things about the building – plenty of parking, lots of space, endless skies over the Aerodrome and wonderful views. It’s jam packed with nature too – we have blue tits, jays, blackbirds and robins as regular visitors not to mention the deer that run across the field. It very much feels like we’re ‘in’ nature.
On the down side, it’s perishingly cold in the winter. Today, as I write at the tail end of October, it was warmer outside when I arrived at 8.30 than inside! But being from Yorkshire-stock, I can’t contemplate turning on any heating until the clocks have changed. As we turn our attention to different rooms, it’s amazing the things I am learning! I’ve spent time googling curious moulds growing on the ceilings – and it turns out that getting this information from Google only makes you paranoid and it’s best to wipe it with bleach and apply lots of paint. We’ve had bats behind the window boards in the room we haven’t renovated, a remarkably beautiful infestation of butterflies and a Little Owl that came to us for a while and then left soon thereafter, but only after it had left its own special message all over the floor.
We have just turned our attention to renovating a space we’re rather grandiosely calling the Board Room. Presently, it has only one window, and has a draft that could chill your bones at fifty paces …..
Our landlord Simon is building us a lovely replacement window this weekend and we’re going to replace a boarded up door with a wider door that would be wheelchair accessible. In the future, we hope that we could open our doors here to the people we support to come to us for special sessions. We held a wonderful sensory session for our recent 25th Birthday party and we might take elements of that events and hold regular events. We’d also like to offer it out to other local charities and businesses to use in return for support. We’ll be making all this happen at the end of November, so if anyone reading this fancies a day of painting or making tea for painters, please get in touch. We really want to create a vibrant, creative, accessible space for us and our service users.
Working in a small charity in 2016 is a challenging place to be. Luckily some of our challenges can be met with a mop and bucket, huge tubs of emulsion and vast amount of elbow grease. Funding battles, traffic in Surrey and owl poo are all things sent to try us – luckily I’m surrounded by the most amazingly dedicated, talented and committed people who are constantly rising to the challenge – DIY or otherwise.
Next time, I’ll be turning from DIY to Death.