COEL help rally Cambridge business community to build a recreation room for the Phoenix Trust

The Phoenix Trust is no ordinary charity; nestled on the outskirts of Milton Country Park in Cambridge; it is both a bustling business and social enterprise. Forged with a mission to strengthen and empower the lives of people with learning disabilities or complex needs, the Phoenix Trust provides a meaningful experience of work together with the development of social and life skills to some of the most vulnerable in our society.

On joining Phoenix Trust you become part of a team and receive the status of being a co-worker with all the responsibilities that entails. Co-workers have fulfilling busy working days producing concrete slabs, garden ornaments, woodsheds, planters, tables, benches as well as all sort of other useful and attractive accessories for the garden. Co-workers, volunteers and staff are all provided daily with a two-course lunch. Jude Tustian, the manager at the Phoenix Trust and the rest of the team, have dedicated their energies into showing the general public and wider community what can be achieved within an inclusive culture and an enriching environment.

The advent of COVID-19 and lockdown has been incredibly hard for all the staff at Phoenix Trust but, they are now back up and following Government Guidelines. COEL, a local design and fit out company, is a major sponsor of The Phoenix Trust. After lockdown Neil Cook, COEL’s CEO, decided to revisit the Phoenix team and see how the recent restrictions had impacted the organisation. He found that in common with other businesses, the Phoenix workforce had been frustrated at not being able to carry on working to their normal capacity. Many had felt lonely and clearly missed fulfilling their working day but, now felt grateful that they were able to get back to business. Using COEL’s experience and specialisation in creating work environments that help employees thrive, Neil took a particular interest in how he could help elevate the working space at the Phoenix Trust for the future.

COEL had recently received a full-size pool table from a client who no longer required it and Neil felt this could be the perfect recreational activity on which to base his plan. Fortunately, the Trust had a space big enough for the erection of a large shed to house the pool table. Energised with the idea, Neil at first spoke to Paul Beamiss from P&A Construction who confirmed he and his team would generously offer free labour to construct the shed. Martin Taylor at KRB Installations confirmed that they would provide free electrical installation and Huws Gray Ridgeons Ltd responded in offering to donate materials. Tradelink Windows and Doors donated a much-needed door and A&S Flooring offered to fit and lay the carpet. Neil also reached out to his close friends within the Cambridge business community and was amazed by the generous response from Cheffins, Carter Jonas, TMJ Interiors, Corporate Architecture, First Intuitions, Dernford, Allia Future Business Centre and Camel Projects Ltd. Wager Property Management donated a darts board, darts and a surround for the wall to help provide another sporting activity for the co-workers to enjoy. The additional financial donations given by the local business community amounted to over £4000.00 once all of the costs of the build had been taken out.

The initial construction work took approximately 10 days and was spurred on with many of the Phoenix Trust co-workers helping with the labour. Paul Beamiss of P&A Construction, was very impressed by the consistent quality of work shown by the co-workers. Jordan, a valued member of the Phoenix team, who has been coming to Phoenix Trust for the last 2 years, showed particular attention to detail and interest in getting the job done. As a result of spending time helping Paul and his team, Jordan is now helping Paul out on a project in the local area and is being trained in a whole new range of skill sets. Paul had to say;

“It has been a joy to work on this project both in terms of giving back, but, perhaps more importantly to be working with another part of our community and helping in terms of offering ongoing training and providing work experience. Ben and Lee who I work with have embraced this project and I have been very impressed both by Jordan’s workmanship and also how well my team have trained Jordan.

It has been a learning exercise for all of us and now we can take pride in our part in helping to build the pool shed and we are very happy to have a new worker in our ranks.”

All of the activity surrounding the building of the shed has naturally caused quite a commotion at the Trust and Jude Tustian commented;

“Neil has been a superb friend of Phoenix, assisting and supporting a number of projects over the last few years and also helping in a very personal capacity, as an increasingly regular volunteer in the kitchen. Neil’s can-do and inclusive approach has been reflected in the attitude of all the people who came on site to work on the project, generously sharing their skills and time with our co-workers. We are truly appreciative of the assistance of all those who helped in such a variety of ways – our new “leisure centre” will, I am sure, be a hugely popular addition to life at Phoenix.”

Coel’s Neil Cook , feels enormously proud of what has been achieved in so short a time as a result of a client returning a pool table. In reflecting on the last few weeks, he had to say:

“This work has been more than provision of a shed for the pool table.” The Phoenix Trust

co-workers came together to help complete the project; it has involved many of them learning new skills with the potential of further work placements.

By working together as a team, we are helping to build community.

I am proud of all The Phoenix Trust co-workers’ contributions and beyond grateful to all in the local business community who donated either by way of offering free labour, materials, or by making financial donations which will help sustain the Trust and allow it to grow and develop.”

To learn more about The Phoenix Trust and how you could get involved please go to:

https://www.phoenixtrust.org

COEL

With over 30 years’ experience in design and fit-out, COEL delivers innovative workplace solutions.

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