DARREN COCKER – SENIOR SITE MANAGER AT BANCON HOMES SPEAKS ABOUT THE GATHIMBA EDWARDS FOUNDATION
At Bancon Homes, a key priority is to create an environment where people feel relaxed and at home, which was exactly our vision for our latest development of family homes, Kinion Place.
Providing a home for people is something I feel strongly about, particularly in third world countries, which is why I volunteer for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation.
The Gathimba Edwards Foundation is an Aberdeen based charity which organises annual trips to Kenya, during which a team of up to 52 international volunteers build homes for Kenyan families in desperate need.
The Gathimba Edwards Foundation was recently celebrated here in the North-east at a charity dinner, of which Bancon Homes was a sponsor.
I was delighted that Bancon chose to sponsor the event, and it was also a fantastic opportunity for our team to see where their support and resources goes.
With the charity’s co-founder Gideon Gathimba in town for the dinner, having flown to Scotland from Africa, I took the opportunity to show him our new development, which is off the A96 near the new TECA complex, and show him how we go about building new houses.
We recently commissioned a sculpture to symbolise the meaning of the development, family, and it was the perfect chance to showcase how Bancon Homes make a house a home in the North-east and shares the same objective of building a community as the charity.
I originally started volunteering with the Foundation back in 2015, when I embarked on what I thought would be a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. On my second trip I became a project manager and I’ve not looked back.
As a project manager for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, my role varies from managing the team and organising the build programme to designing a standard range of house types to suit the living requirements and needs of the families who will receive them.
When I joined Bancon Homes two years ago, the rest of the team were more than happy to support my involvement with the charity, as well as help where they can. It’s thanks to the company that we have been able to create short videos demonstrating to the wider public what these annual trips involve.
My responsibilities at Bancon Homes have provided me with the tools and knowledge to continuously develop my role within the charity and I would urge anyone to take part in this rewarding project.
Bancon’s sister company, Deeside Timberframe, has also supported me through turning my rough sketches into professional timber kit drawings, which make the build process in Kenya much smoother.
So far, I have helped to build a 16-bed dormitory and 14 houses, putting roofs over the heads of 75 children. Many people ask how I dedicate so much time to this project, but it’s easy – I’m a father of two young children and when you see the smiles on the youngsters’ faces once we have built their new home, there truly is no greater reward.