Last week I took part in a competition with a difference. A charity challenge that was not only physically and mentally tough but one that challenged my perception.
I was invited to take part in Hope Challenge 2017 in aid of Habitat for Humanity – a global housing charity.
It’s a weekend in the Peak District where teams battle it out to raise money and awareness for the charity by completing several challenges.
Pitted against other teams of construction professionals, a team of four from Barratt Homes were tasked with designing and building a sustainable shelter to sleep in for two nights.
The team, consisted of Stacey Drew, finance manager; Luke Crossley, land buyer; Stuart Goodwill, head of planning and myself Aaron Wright, planning manager.
During the weekend we also had to complete a 20km trek through Hope Valley which included a series of mental and physical challenges.
Before we headed off to the Peaks we had to decide what we were going to make our shelter out of. It had to be sustainable and waterproof – the weather wasn’t going to be on our side!
We’ve all seen plastic bottles here and there but when we started looking at the statistics at how many are wasted and the levels of plastic that are ending up in the sea we were shocked.
It is estimated that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year and can be found everywhere from the Poles to the Equator.
We were all recently upset by the viral YouTube video that showed a plastic straw getting stuck in a turtle’s nose. So anything that would help to recycle waste plastic seemed like the perfect plan to us.
Everyone at Barratt Homes in Southampton got involved and helped to collect recycled plastic bottles for us. Some came from the side of the road, local parks and the others from recycling bins.
Time to get stuck in
The weekend in the Peaks was tough. While the rest of the UK hit summer, we drowned in the deluge. There was a lot of rain but, we didn’t let it dampen our spirits.
On the first day of the challenge we spent the afternoon constructing our shelter out of bamboo and used the recycled plastic bottles for the roof.
Our design was put to the test with the heavy rain but we’re delighted to say that our recycled roof kept us dry all weekend.
It was then I realised that people worldwide face this issue every day and I felt determined to complete the tasks to raise as much money as possible. It really kept me going during the wet trek through Hope Valley.
It also helped us to raise a lot of money for Habitat for Humanity UK, which meant we came second in the fundraising category of the competition.
Over the weekend we raised £9,474.24 which is enough money to build three habitat houses for three families.
I was very proud that we could raise such a large amount of money that will go directly to improving a community and the lives of several families.
This experience took me out of my comfort zone and made me think about the everyday security I have in my home and community. Habitat for Humanity GB say that “Home is the first step toward a future of opportunities and prosperity”. I really agree with this and am pleased to be part of a company that is supporting the charity.
Barratt Homes Southampton planning manager