On the 23rd April 2013 nearly forty volunteers from Diageo took part in a Community Challenge to redecorate St Peter’s Primary School main hall. The hall was in urgent need of a revamp, especially as it is used every day by pupils for school assemblies, PE lessons and lunch.

St Peter’s Primary School is the first charity school to be set up in West London, by a father and daughter who realized there was a shortage of schools in the area for children of labourers. As the school is a voluntary aided school, they usually do their own fundraising activities to raise funds for school activities.

The team of Diageo volunteers were tasked with improving the presentation of the hall through painting this large and high room. Works4U arranged for a professional decorator to fill in the holes in the walls prior to the day so they could be painted. Throughout the day the Works4U team were there to provide support, including two volunteer interns, Latoya and Paola, who were there to observe and help dish out teas and coffees to the hard-working volunteers. Additionally, two professional decorators were there during the day to carry out the tricky and very high painting and to advise the volunteers where needed.

The enthusiastic volunteers from Diageo arrived at the school with the sun shining and everyone in high spirits. Even the delay of tea and coffee, due to an electrical fault, did not dampen the enthusiasm and energy. Before the volunteers began the work, St Peter’s Primary School Headmistress, Jean Shipton, thanked the volunteers and explained why what they were doing was so important to the school and, in particular, to the pupils.

As well as bringing great enthusiasm, the Diageo volunteers also brought onesies! Showing off their creative skills, the volunteers separated into groups to decorate their onesies in fun and flamboyant ways. As this Challenge took place on St George’s Day, one volunteer very aptly decorated his onesie with the flag of St George. The onesies were so impressive that the school made a special request to keep a few of them and to show to the pupils.

Once suitably attired, the Diageo volunteers began the work with great gusto and speed! The team split into approximately 4 groups (tackling each corner of the hall), each preparing the area (attaching masking tape to the edges) and getting acclimatized to their equipment: paint brushes, rollers, extended rollers and paint. It took one volunteer a matter of seconds before paint had spilled onto the protective dust sheet and onto the volunteer’s face!

Many of the volunteers had not met each other before or did not know some of their colleagues well, but it was very clear great camaraderie and teamwork was present from the get-go.

Whilst working, many of the curious pupils peered through the door and playground windows to see all the activity taking place. The Diageo volunteers worked extremely hard and fast all morning and by lunchtime had applied the first coat of white paint. As the pupils were on their lunch break, the volunteers had a very well deserved rest, with refreshments and pizza.

The pizzas did not last for very long. Whilst enjoying their lunch the Diageo volunteers handed out some awards, including some for the most creative, the most hard-working and the most clumsy!

After lunch, the volunteers were quick to get to work and it was clear that due to their fast pace, the team was going to complete the second coat of paint well before the end of the day. Works4U consulted with the school to see if there were other areas that the volunteers could help with on the day. With the pupils at the school that day the only other area was the entrance room to the hall. The volunteers got straight to work. Additionally, it became clear the wooden frames and steps of the doors into the playground could also do with some freshening up. With appropriate paint acquired the volunteers made swift work of the task.

The pupils of the school were still very curious and seemed very impressed with the work of the volunteers and their onesies!

The hard and committed work of the volunteers meant they finished the work ahead of schedule and were able to look with pride at the work they had completed. The look and feel of the room had been transformed from the morning and seemed so much brighter.

In addition, the School needed to change some lightbulbs in the hall but had been unable to do so for several years due to the prohibitive cost of needing a tower/scaffolding. With a tower already in use and the work completed ahead of schedule, the professional decorators were able to perform this task and made the room seem even brighter.

When Headmistress Jean Shipton returned to see the work, she was extremely impressed and could not thank the volunteers enough. She reiterated how important the work that had been performed will make a difference to the school and brought with her two pupils who also said thank you to the volunteers.

Works4U would also like to say a big thank you to the Diageo volunteers who impressed with their hard work and dedication throughout the day.

If you would like to participate in Community Challenge, please contact the Works4U team:
enquiries@works-4u.com
020 8741 9876

The Volunteering Professionals
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148 King Street,
Hammersmith. W6 0QU

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Phone: 020 8741 9876
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DIAGEO Community Challenge : St. Peter’s Primary School (Hammersmith)
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