Their mission, should they choose to accept it, was to build a sustainable treehouse for £2,000 in just a fortnight that would leave a lasting legacy for the community and involve as many of our people as possible.
The three offices of the Wales and the West team rose to the challenge. Nearly 200 staff from Cardiff, Exeter and Bristol, and dozens more from partner organisations who got on board, branched out to find suitable spots for their creations.
The Ronald McDonald House Cardiff (RMHC), Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) in Bristol and Trefusis Park in Plymouth were chosen, with each now proudly boasting a treehouse after all the teams met the challenging brief with flying colours – despite some tricky obstacles presented by torrential rain, a heatwave, site access issues and meeting planning obligations.
In fact, the teams went above and beyond: Cardiff completed in just 12 days and donated their £2,000 budget to RMHC; Bristol added play items and a sensory garden from items donated by local businesses; and Exeter used the challenge as an opportunity to build new relationships with companies outside of the supply chain partners.
The beneficiaries thought the whole project was tree-mendous. Janey Hellmen, corporate partnerships fundraiser for CHSW, said:
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff at Willmott Dixon. It’s been a delight to work with the team who ensured the design met the needs of all our children. The treehouse is a wonderful new addition to the Charlton Farm garden and will be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.”
Plymouth City Council, meanwhile, has invited us to take part in the Mayflower 2020 Project, which is a global celebration of the founding fathers setting sail to America. The treehouse built by the Exeter team is a simplified version of the famous ship, pointing in the direction of its journey from Plymouth all those years ago.