The Henley Over 60’s Social Club has had a spruce up thanks to J Murphy & Sons, the construction company behind the Gardiner Place development. The 60+ Club was closed for two days last week whilst volunteers from Murphy gave the main room, hallway and toilets a fresh lick of paint. Though members of the club had to find somewhere else for lunch on Wednesday and Thursday, it was well worth it for the gleaming makeover.
The redecoration project began when Gardiner Place Project Manager, Brendan Eames, approached the Over 60’s Club with the idea. Jessica Biggs, J Murphy & Sons employee and volunteer decorator, explained, “Murphys really like to get involved in the communities where we’re working, rather than just being a building site where people don’t really know about the company.
“We are a construction company so decorating is something we can probably contribute. We thought it would be nice to get involved in the community and get to know some of the people that we’re working around and give something back.”
The club revamp began with sanding and preparing the surfaces before they were coated in a bright apple white paint, chosen by the club members. The decorators from Murphy were all volunteering their time for the cause, despite many of them not being experienced in manual roles.
Gill Dodds, Chair of the Over 60’s Club, described the moment when she heard the news about the project. “I was gobsmacked, really,” she expressed. “I couldn’t believe it that they were offering to paint the whole of the inside, and it’s just an amazing gift to us. For us to do that is many thousands of pounds, and so it’s wonderful. It was a fairy godmother moment really.
“The members are absolutely thrilled to bits; they couldn’t believe it either! We’re just enormously grateful, and it’s a wonderful gift to the elderly of the town. This centre is so important to the town.”
Jessica, who works in Health and Safety, revealed that the company are looking to get involved in more community projects as the construction on Gardiner Place continues. “The project that we’re doing at Gardiner Place is running until next year so we’d be keen to get involved in other things in the future,” she said. “This probably won’t be the last thing we’ll be helping out with.”
The 60+ Social Club relies on the generosity of the local community, many of whom have helped to keep this valued centre for the elderly open. Membership costs just £18 per year, making donations from organisations such as J Murphy & Sons essential in maintaining the building and its services. The Town Council has arranged to paint the club’s exterior, in addition to dealing with an insurance claim for a knock to the corner of the building. Gill exclaimed, “By the time the outside is painted, we will be immaculate!”