In June 2017, building work on HomeSquare and the flat above the bakery began. 4 new team members joined Homebaked to take on the building work.
Paul Harcombe joined as the foreman for the building work, and he is joined by 3 new trainees, Bradley Barrett, David Wood and Leanne Mitchell.
The team will work with a number of people from Homebaked as well as our architects Architectural Emporium, our landscape design team, HomeFarm, community design teams and external contractors over the 6 months. They have started building work on HomeSquare and will be moving up the flat in September.
We recently spoke with the trainees to find out how they’re getting on.
How did you get involved in Homebaked?
Bradley: I was working as a volunteer at Liverpool Homeless FC and saw a flyer that Angela from Homebaked put up on the noticeboard that was advertising the traineeship. I applied because I thought it was a great opportunity to get involved in a great community project whilst learning a trade.
David: I got on board by accident really; I went into the Rotunda to do a health and safety training course to get my CSCS card to help me get a job but whilst I was there I was offered the opportunity to come and work at Homebaked. It fitted in ideally as it was the reason I was going to get my card in the first place because I needed a job! And I’ve been here ever since, learning different aspects of construction.
Leanne: A friend had shown me the advert on twitter and I got in touch after seeing that and spoke with Britt and then came in for an interview. It was something that I’d been looking for for ages, but I couldn’t find the right course and I’d taken on different jobs for the money – I worked in an airplane factory, chemically treating parts, and I got my forklift licence through them, warehouse work – and then this opportunity came along. Joinery is what I’ve always wanted to do. Since then I’ve been learning that it’s something that I really like.
Tell us about some of the people that you’ve worked with so far.
David: That’s the great thing about this, everyone is so different, from different backgrounds and has taken different career paths.
Paul by trade is a carpenter, and so there’s stuff that he’s said he’s learning as well.
Bradley: Agreed, at Homebaked no two people are alike, and that’s why it is so interesting. I work with people with years of experience in a lot of different sectors. There are volunteers at Homebaked from many different countries, I think it is great to converse with all these people because it makes me more culturally intelligent every day.
Leanne: Nicholas is an architect, but he builds as well. And you don’t find many architects that build as well. Or be on site a lot. He’s dead knowledgeable, he’s always got an answer for you.
I love the different personalities here, I think that’s why we all get on so well. We all learn from each other every day.
David: Whats great is that they all say that they’re learning too, alongside us. Nicolas, for example, is learning the scouse language, that’s his big learning curve.
So we’re all learning in different ways which is quite cool and even though we’re trainees, we still feel like we’re all on an equal platform.
Leanne: Arthur keeps coming in every day, to tell us a little joke. Every day he’s got a couple of new jokes for us.
David: I had to get some pictures of him because he’s a local legend. He was in the Merchant Navy and he’s always got some old stories for us, old jokes and he’s always telling us that manners are important and he’s old fashioned like that, which is cool. It helps out with our day because when it gets to 2 pm, he’ll pop over.
And there’s obviously the staff in the bakery as well and we’re getting to know them well. Even in the bakery, everyone is different in their own way and I think that’s what gives them their camaraderie.
What have you learned so far?
Leanne: It’s been great and we’ve learned loads of things. We’ve just learned how to put corrugated roofs on.
With the gardening, we’ve learned loads of things, like how to make planters, which David has already put into use at home.
David: At my mums, with the spare wood from the decking she’d had put in, I made the planters for her, and that was just from the things I’d learned here.
Yeah, we’ve learned loads of things. It’s been split into two – we’re working now on the public square and then going in to do the flat in October. We’re going to be learning loads of different things from both sites, which I think gives us a broader experience to learn from. I think that’s the brilliant part of it.
Bradley: When I first got involved I knew very little about the construction industry, but I have progressed very quickly through the intense training and work alongside skilled and very experienced craftsmen. First, I learned the ins and out of health and safety, the basic skills of joinery and structural work and I am now competently using various power tools.
Leanne: I can’t wait to get upstairs and get to work on sanding the floor boards down, and renovating the flat. That’s something that I want to get into, I like the finishing touches. We’re going to make worktops, out of plywood, and I can’t wait to see what they look like. Veneering – putting the plastic into the wood, we’ll be doing that as well, which is like a trade in itself.
What have been the biggest things that you’ve learned and memorable moments to date?
David: A lot of it is the skills – knowing our angles for cutting wood and using the miter saw and learning how to actually use all the equipment and learning our measurements for cutting different types of wood. To me, that’s been a big learning thing for me.
Leanne: Mine was using a handsaw because when you first get it it wobbles everywhere, and after a day I’d figured it out. And using power tools, too, things I’ve never used before and learning how to use them and how to use them safely.
And painting the container and learning how to not get it on yourself. The first day I was painting it and got on the ladder and ended up with no paint in the tray when I got up there as it was all over me! That was a bad day.
Bradley: My most memorable moment was when we had the one show come to interview us about our traineeship and the plans of our public square and the accommodation we are re-developing above the bakery.
David: But there are other things as well. I mentioned getting to know people, and different cultures and how people like is another learning thing and its knowing how to talk to people and how to react. Some people need a pat on the back and some people need a kick up the backside.
Has there been anything that’s surprised you so far?
David: There have been loads for me because all of this is completely new to me.
I think the workshop we did in the flat to help with the design and understanding how the building actually works to keep the structure up was a big thing.
Leanne: When we worked out how to put the wood on the roof of the classroom on the square, and we had to learn how to do it safely and solving problems to do it.
I also hear you all have nicknames for each other?
David: It all started with Brad. He’s always given himself the name ‘The Hench’ – I think he loves himself a bit – and so we called him that and then Britt came with some mugs for us so we can make a brew and because they’re all the same we had to write our names on them, but instead of using our normal names we gave ourselves our nicknames.
Leanne: Nicholas gave me mine because I was quick at climbing up the structure to do things, so he called me ‘Monkey’, which in his French accent is very funny. He’s a funny man.
David: We call Paul ‘Curley Watts’ because he’s got a big load of curls coming out of his brain. Nicolas, we call ‘Shock’ because he’s got similar hair but he looks like he’s licked a battery. We’ve actually had loads for Nicholas – I call him ‘Professor Wheetos’ and ‘Marv’ off the film Home Alone.
And mine is ‘Ginge’ because of my hair although I’m starting to call myself ‘Chesney’ now. That’s my new name.
What are you looking forward to?
Leanne: Mine is doing the flat, learning how to use the wood up there and about skirting boards, worktops, and door frames. We’re also building shelving in it. And these are all things that I can use in my own life as well as later on when I go into my own business.
David: Mine is more the design side to it and the ideas part. I liked the design workshop we did. And finding out from people like Nicholas and Toby what is actually possible in the space because you could have loads of ideas that aren’t possible structurally. Having an input into the design is what I like doing and then seeing the end result from that is exciting.
Bradley: At the minute we are working on the public square. We all let our imaginations run free when designing different furniture and finishing pieces. I’m excited for it to be finished and start work above the bakery so we can start to learn the refurb side of the trade and design our own pieces of furniture and special finishing touches. We have come so far since our first day and the whole team finds it so rewarding when we finish each step so I can not wait until people in our community are enjoying our work as much as we hope they will.
Photos by Britt Jurgensen, Angela McKay, Andrew Ku, Bradley Barrett, David Wood and Leanne Mitchell.
David (left) and Bradley (right)