18 October 2010
Planning expert, Paul Grover has this week swapped his suit and blackberry for a hard hat and tool belt as he joins other business leaders in building a house for a low income family in Shanghai, China.
Paul, a regional director at global infrastructure consultancy, WYG has volunteered his time to the build in the run up to ‘Liverpool Day’ at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. The project has been organised by the Chinese arm of Habitat for Humanity in association with Liverpool Habitat for Humanity (LHFH). The build-day has been sponsored by Liverpool Football Club. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has built and rehabilitated more than 220,000 houses with families in need, addressing the issues of poverty housing.
With over 12 years experience in the planning arena, Paul is no stranger to a challenge and is enjoying being part of a life changing project. He said: “Working at WYG I have been involved in a wide variety of projects and whilst I have been known to get my boots dirty on occasion it’s about time I got my hands dirty as well. With planning projects taking months if not years to get through the UK planning system it is very rewarding to instantly see the fruits of my labour.”
At 35 years old both Paul and the family’s old house are the same age, but Paul hopes he is fairing slightly better than the house was. The old house was built with wood beams, mud bricks and a tile roof. The roof leaked and was heavily sagging – part of it even collapsed – meaning the home was no longer safe to live in. The house also lacked even basic sanitation facilities for the family’s use.
Paul added: “Knowing that what I am doing is towards a new home for 57-year old Ding Amao and his 85-year old mother Chen Gengen makes the hard work worthwhile. Since arriving it has been none stop, there are 20 business people from Liverpool working alongside the local villages and we have been laying the foundations of friendship whilst laying the foundations for the new home. With determination and brute force the team have achieved in one day the work that would normally take two.”
The proposed new home is part of a Habitat for Humanity China project supported by Cargill, the international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services, to improve homes in Pinghu country, Zheijaiang, about 110 km. (70 miles) from Shanghai.
For more information about LHFH or details of Habitat for Humanity China, visit http://www.liverpoolhfh.org.uk/ or www.habitatchina.org. For more information on WYG visit www.wyg.com or for information relating to WYG in China please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption: Paul Grover getting his hands dirty