PRESS RELEASE I wrote for my husband's community project !
Local Handyman offers FREE Painting, Decorating and Gardening in a new community scheme
A small business in Shepton Mallet is hoping to make a huge impact on the local community, by launching a new initiative to help a deserving local family.
Wayne Banks, who's garden and property maintenance company My Big Handyman, only started up last October- wants to give something back to the community who have supported him.
He wants to encourage others to 'pay it forward' and do the same – with his project #PaintItForward. Inspired by shows like DIYSOS and Extreme Home Makeover, the idea first took off in the USA. People nominate a deserving family or person, who has suffered some kind of hardship, and could do with a house and garden freshen -up.
Perhaps a full time carer with no energy for annoying DIY, or a busy single mum with no time or extra cash to paint the spare bedrooms. A family who have had to deal with illness or disability, or an elderly person who hasn't been able to keep on top of household repairs. Once the nominations are in, three will be chosen and then the public will vote for an overall winner.
Then Wayne, with the help of volunteers will go in and do the job absolutely free of charge. The Wells branch of CRS building supplies have kindly offered to supply some materials, and local company “Maid In Somerset” have offered to do a full clean up after the work is complete.
The Paint It Forward scheme could see one lucky family have rooms , windows and doors painted, repairs and DIY jobs completed, shelves and cupboards put up, carpets or flooring laid. All types of garden jobs could be included , from mowing, strimming, hedge cutting and rubbish clearance. It all depends on who wins, and what they need doing
Wayne's wife Heather Banks, explains why the project is close to their hearts.
“Wayne is an army veteran, when he left the Royal Signals over a decade ago – he suffered with bad PTSD, and struggled to settle into civilian life.
We actually moved to Swedish Lapland, where Wayne took up dog sledding in order to find a new focus in life. He loved it, but in 2014, after environmental factors caused our winter tourism business to fail – we made the difficult decision to return to the UK. This time we also had two young children in tow.
After a traumatic four day journey with just a trailer full of belongings, we landed back in England- and were shocked to find we'd failed the 'Home Residency' test, and would receive no financial help from the welfare state at all.
For the next 2 years, we struggled a lot. They were dark times. We had to rely on food parcels, and charity. Some kind people even donated us kids clothes and toys, which meant a great deal.
Wayne found work, but was injured then caught Pneumonia. His PTSD and depression returned, along with a horrific cycle of debilitating cluster headaches. At the same time, I left work in order to home school and care for my eldest son, who had just been diagnosed with Autism. Some days I don't know how we coped.”
Finally, setting up as a sole trader last year, allowed Wayne to use his wide variety of skills, and get out and about, now he's a different person. He became involved with the local British Legion and is training to become a scout leader.
“The business has gone from strength to strength, and now we really want to help others who may be having a rough time.”
Wayne says “ Our family have been through some really challenging times, financially and emotionally. I also lost my mum earlier this year. Starting my own business was the best thing I've ever done, apart from dog sledding of course! It can really make a difference when someone offers to help. People helped us when we needed it, now I want to help others”.
The couple hope that this project will only be the start, and that others will be inspired to do something similar.
If you'd like to nominate a deserving person or family to win this wonderful giveaway. Complete the online Nomination form at www.mybighandyman.weebly.com or message the Facebook page www.facebook.com/mybighandyman paper forms will also be available from My Coffee Stop and The Fairy Godmother shop on Shepton Mallet High Street.
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)