Work has been completed on the redevelopment of much needed affordable rent accommodation in Watford as part of efforts to end homelessness in the town.
National fit out and refurbishment specialist contractor, Willmott Dixon Interiors has reconfigured the third floor of One YMCA’s Charter House, to create 11 studio apartments for rough sleepers and vulnerable people.
The £2.7 million project has also delivered two new staff offices and a new residents lounge to support individuals towards independence.
The project included a full strip out of the third floor, the removal of asbestos and installation of new M&E and building services.
Willmott Dixon Interiors achieved a social return on investment of more than £125,000 through community-based initiatives delivered alongside the main works.
In line with its sustainability strategy, Now or Never, the contractor provided opportunities for local people and schoolchildren to learn new skills and explore a career in construction. Activities included employability sessions for jobseekers, a careers fair and virtual work experience sessions for students at King Solomon School, delivered in partnership with Watford City Lions. A work experience placement, created through Willmott Dixon Interiors’ Building Lives Academy, was supported for the duration of the project.
Graham Shaw, managing director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “Our team has successfully remodelled space within Charter House to deliver a safe and welcoming environment for rough sleepers. The building offers modern facilities that will support One YMCA in equipping people with the skills to come out of homelessness and unemployment. We’re incredibly proud to have provided careers advice and employment opportunities for local people during the life of the project, that will leave a lasting positive legacy.”
Mark Turner, chief operating officer of One YMCA, said: “What a project, what a construction partner and what an amazing outcome for some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. All thanks to the amazing efforts, support and commitment of Willmott Dixon Interiors, the professional project team and all our local authority and third sector partners. Now we can do even more to change, and save, lives for those who need us most.”