The house that Kibble built: jobless lads transform derelict bungalow

The house that Kibble built: jobless lads transform derelict bungalow
Lynn Jolly, Paisley Daily Express

BUDDIE Chris Heslop has revealed he applied for 300 jobs before being given a lifeline chance by a social enterprise project.

Chris was among a group of jobless Buddies who teamed up to transform a derelict house into a home – and they turned their own fortunes round while they worked.

After months on the dole, the eight lads were given jobs by Kibble Construction Ltd, which is a new social enterprise company set up by Kibble Education and Care Centre, in Paisley.

And after six months of hard graft learning the building trade, they have refurbished a bungalow which is now ready to be sold on the open market.

Kibble Construction is part of KibblePLUS – the job training wing of the organisation that also includes recycling of household goods, market gardening, events management, computer servicing and repair and vehicle mechanics.

The building company, in partnership with Renfrewshire Council’s employment training service, Renfrewshire Workforce Plus, employs time-served tradesmen to train and supervise unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds.

Workforce Plus selects the young people for training and they receive the building industry standard wages, plus travelling expenses during their six-month contract.

Chris Heslop, 25, was one of the eight young men taken off the dole – after applying for a staggering 300 jobs – and given work creating a new home from the old bungalow by adding four new rooms and creating an entirely new internal structure.

And as well as celebrating a job well done, Chris has also now found a permanent job working for the NHS Laundry, in Hillington.

Chris, from Foxbar, in Paisley said: “Working on the bungalow with Kibble Construction has taught me a lot and motivated me to find another job when my six months contract was up.

“My time with Kibble Construction has changed my life and it has made me want to go to work.

“I wouldn’t have got that job with the laundry if I hadn’t been with Kibble Construction for that six months. I probably wouldn’t have bothered going looking for a job because I’d had so many knock-backs in the past.

“It has opened the door to the world of work again and has made me believe in myself again. Seeing the house totally refurbished has given me a sense of achievement.”

All profits from Kibble Construction are ploughed back into the business and the next project about to start is converting a long-time empty care hostel in Richmond Drive, Linwood into five terraced houses which, when completed, will also be sold.

Chris added: “I was unemployed for five months before I got this job with Kibble Construction

“When you don’t have a job you don’t feel wanted by anyone and no one wants to give you a chance.

“It’s quite demoralising as there’s no reason to get of out your bed in the morning. I had a very boring lifestyle, just sitting around the house all day.

“I had applied for 300 jobs and never heard back from one of them. Now I can enjoy myself as I’ve got a new job with some money coming in and I’ve got my self respect back.”

The man behind Kibble Construction is retired housebuilder David Hannah, who was a partner in Ossian Construction. He came out of retirement with the aim of not just building houses, but to rebuild the lives of young people who couldn’t find work.

He said: “The house at Marchfield Avenue looks fantastic and it will make a great family home.

“But the success of our first project is down to the hard graft and enthusiasm of the lads who worked on the house. We just gave them a job and an opportunity – they did the rest.”