THE NEWS SQUAWK IS BACK!
We have loads of great stories and news coming into, and out of, our workshop, so be ready...
The News Squawk is returning to the nest!
The Seagulls Team
Bigger, older and still very painty
Bigger Paint store - Visitors to Aire Place Mills will have noticed that we have now got a new extension / expansion into some much needed extra space. The extra room has made life easier for staff and meant we can spruce up our shelves and spread out all our range of quality new and used paint. There is a new masonry, woodcare and ’50 Shades' sections and all the colours sections are lot easier to see. It's loads better so do come and have a look.
Talking of enhancing the customer experience... we have finally got with the times and we now accept all major debit and credit cards.
Please note our hard working volunteers and staff are off to our annual training, recuperation and general good time get together at a camping barn in Derbyshire. As a result we are closed Fri 5th and Sat 6th September. Sorry for any inconvenience.
And finally..... We will formally be 10 years old in October. We can’t believe it either; still not quite grown up but mostly glad to be alive! Do look out as we will be hosting some mini celebrations and promotions. We'll let you know more nearer the time.
We have now closed our Redecorate service
We have been working hard to make a go of the service over the last 5 year. Alas with the competition from smaller businesses and the need to charge VAT (as we are a bigger organistion) Redecorate was not proving to be viable.
Also we felt that we had moved away from the original aims of Redecorate: to provide a cost effective painting and decorating service to people most in need and to provide an assisted painting and decorating programme for people who are able to put paint on walls but lack the confidence and skills to do this. Again this is really hard to do and make it economically viable, especially with the recent big financial cuts to social, community and housing organisations.
We have learnt a lot and are still committed to developing relevant training, workshops or self help services relating to decorating and improving people's homes.
Thanks to all our loyal customers, hard working staff and others who have supported us
Lloyds Bank Community Awards
A big thank you to everyone who voted for us. Alas we did n't get the top award but did receive £300, which will go to providing warm clothing and thermals and hot food for volunteers (it's a chilly job going out and collecting the paint this time of year!). Thanks.
Our new shop is open at 10/12 Hudson Road, LS9 6DJ
We are pleased to announce our new shop is open. It is on Hudson Road, Harehills next the Burton’s factory. We hope it will give people in the Burmantofts / Harehills and north / east Leeds better access to our quality reused paint! It is currently open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm, and we will be open on Saturdays once we establish our new team of workers and volunteers. A big thank you to all who have helped us bring this old shop back into use (it had been empty for the last 20 years!).
Leeds Community Foundation have been very supportive as always, we have received funding from Jimbo's East Leeds Fund and Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy Programme (part ERDF funded).
Laing O'Rourke (the construction company) completed the refurbishment at no cost and to a very high standard, so it is very swish looking compared to our tatty old paint store on Kirkstall Road. We offer our usual full range of reused paint products and cheap decorating equipment, so do come visit.
We took on a new decorator in January, Kelly, for our expanded Redecorate service. We are currently good and busy, but do give us a call for a free quote if you need any decorating work doing.
Also a link to us and our website was recently mentioned on the Channel 4 programme SuperScrimpers. Alas the programme makers did n’t mention we only sell our reused paint in Leeds. As a result a lot of people contacted us, from all over the country, wanting to buy our paint, which is great for us and we do appreciate the interest and the words of encouragement lots of people have expressed. However, just to make things clear following many of these queries, we are based in Leeds but we can’t ship our paint (shipping would cost far more than the paint). In time I’m sure we will have outlets in Luton, Ipswich and East Kilbride but it might be a while before we grow to that size!
We have our annual weekend away booked for volunteers and staff at a camping barn in Derbyshire, so we ‘re looking forward to some countryside and campfire fun. Here’s hoping for some sunshine then and plenty in the meantime.
Painter and Decorator vacancy
Applications for the painter and decorator vacancy have now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied.
We are very sorry we are not able to respond to all applicants individually (we received over 200 applications).
However if you do want some feedback on your application we are happy to provide this, on request.
How time flies!
We can’t believe it has been nearly a year since we last wrote an update; it doesn’t seem like five minutes since we were making our TV debut! We have had lots of positive feedback since then and we have done our very best to capitalise on the exposure.
New outlet coming soon!!! - After a successful pilot of ‘The Shed’ at the design base on Hazelwood Drive Leeds 9 we are expanding and have found a fantastic shop space on Hudson Road in Harehills, next door to the Burtons factory. Arcadia group, who own the shop, have given us a rent free period in return for some renovations, which will be quite extensive as the shop has been empty for over 20 years! The new store will provide a cheap paint resource for the area and offer volunteering opportunities for local people. Once established we also aim to run arts and craft workshops in the shop. A grant from Jimbo’s East Leeds Enterprise fund and support from Leeds Community Foundation will help us reach our goal of opening in the New Year.
The paint store on Kirkstall Road is going great guns and we have had an extremely busy summer; So far this year we have worked with over 28 volunteers and have welcomed two new employees, Rob and Alex, into the fold. Both are long term volunteers, Rob will be helping out in the Kirkstall Road shop and Alex will be supervising our new shop in Harehills.
Redecorate is keeping busy, in addition to the decorating Ruksar is currently working on another training programme with Places for People. We are also providing work experience for year two painting and decorating trainees from Leeds College of Building.
Mosaic continues to work with The Teenage Cancer Trust at the LGI and Jimmy’s. Cat has taken over mosaic duties as Angela has added to the nest with a little boy Lucas. Mosaic classes at our Kirkstall base are proving popular, we are now running classes on Tuesdays 1 -3 and Fridays 10 – 12, give Seagulls a call if you fancy having a go.
And finally, we turned eight this year! It’s a bit scary how quickly this birthday has come around; it doesn’t feel so long ago that we were sitting in the kitchen plotting world domination! We had some nice cake and a bit of ‘fizzy stuff’ in the office to celebrate. Not long to go until we are ten!!
Seagulls "As seen on telly!" - Channel 4's Secret Millionaire
Thank you for your warm and positive responses to the programme which went out on Sunday (Nov 27th), it's been very inspiring. We had n't seen the programme before it was aired so were obviously a bit nervous, but well pleased with the finished programme. Thanks to all involved, to Charles, to everyone in it (Lee is quite the local celebrity now!) and everyone who has contacted us since.
If you missed it on Sunday you can find it here:
Summer seems to have been and gone in the blink of an eye and here in the paint store we are dusting down the thermals ready for the winter; we have been pretty lucky so far with the mild November weather.
A lot has been happening in the world of paint. In July Cat (one of Seagulls managers) added a new Chick to the nest in the form of a bouncing 10lb baby boy Samuel so congratulations to her and her partner Matt.
More and more people are seeing the sense in buying our quality, but much cheaper paint, and the paint store has never been so busy. Over in Redecorate Ruksar has been passing on his skills to local people via a decorating course held in an empty Leeds Federated Housing property. Ruksar has also worked on a joint project with Bradford Artworks and Places for People, teaching young people leaving care basic decorating, wallpapering and joinery skills. The course was very successfully received and we are aiming to offer more courses in 2012. Mosaic has also been busy, Angela has been working with children in various primary schools in Leeds to create bright and beautiful mosaics for their schools; Angela also continues to work with the Teenage Cancer Trust at the LGI. Check out the mosaic page for photographs of recent works.
We can now finally reveal the exciting news we have been holding back for far too long!! Seagulls will be appearing in Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme on Sunday 27th November at 9pm. We had great fun filming the show; hopefully everyone else will find it entertaining, let us know what you think..................
Our New Website
Hello, so what do you think of the new website?
We’re very pleased with it. It has pretty much come out just as we had hoped (and just the right shade of pink!). Yes it has been a while in development and involved a bit of head scratching, bum scratching and general frustration. Our original site went up in 2006 and was pretty well received, but the navigation proved a bit tricky and it has gradually got a bit tired and dated. The new site is a big improvement.
Our Seagull and general pinkness have always proved very popular and do help to spread the paint reuse message. Be it on paint banks, websites, our van or natty cotton shopping bags (now available in store!). We’ve tried to be a bit different, fun and informative. And in a belated attempt to ‘get with it’ we’ve also started tweeting’ (@seagullspaint) and are assured we can now update our content easily without making a mess of things! Big thank yous to Colin at Viddy Creative for his ideas and enthusiasm; and to Bliss Systems for the ‘techie’ stuff and making it happen.
We really do want to know what you think (we are always keen to learn) so please drop us a line. What works and what could be improved? Are you finding what you need? Any ideas to make it more fun or interesting?
There’s more than paint at Seagulls...
Redecorate our painting and decorating service is doing well and keeping busy, Ruska, seagulls decorator, is fully booked up until the end of July. He will also be running two painting and decorating courses in June. The courses will be run in a Leeds Federated Housing property giving attendees a real life house situation to practise in. We will be looking for further venues to continue running the courses and hope to add further practical courses later in the year.
Mosaic, Seagulls Community arts programme, continues to flourish. In March this Year Angela completed a piece of work with young people from the Toller Youth cafe in Bradford, the Mosaic is now on display at the cafe on Duckworth Lane in Bradford, pop and have a look if you are in the area! Angela is currently working with The Teenage Cancer Trust at the Leeds General Infirmary; taking mosaic workshops to the wards and working with patients to create pieces such as a mosaic bench and wishing well for the hospital garden.
Alison has been busy creating a workable craft area in the Seagulls building. Alison can make the most incredible art and crafts from everyday items that many of us would consider to be waste. She will be passing on these skills to people during some workshops in the summer months. Keep your eye on our website and blog for dates.
Here comes the sun!
After a long and very cold winter (there’s no heating in our building!)
Seagulls staff and volunteers are all enjoying the warmer weather (could do with some more sunshine though!)
The paint store is full and we are getting more and more new customers through the door, in the month of April we ‘rescued’ 7478kg of paint (that’s over 7 tonnes) that would have gone to landfill!! We are also now stocking paint brushes, rollers, white spirit etc so you can get everything you need all in one place.
Now that we have pigments (thanks Gemini Dispersions) we are able to mix all sorts of delicious ‘bespoke’ colours for our customers, it also means that we can change some of the more boring colours (namely salmon pink - does anyone like that colour?) into shades that customers will want to put on their walls.
This month we will be saying goodbye to two of our volunteers, Faisal and Ahiyed, they have been with us for three months helping out with paint collections and in the paint store. Both have improved their English while being with us (which along with a reference was one of their volunteering aims) and have definitely learned a few choice Yorkshire phrases during their time with Seagulls! We will be sorry to see them go and wish them well in their search for employment.
Cat (one of Seagulls’ managers) has now gone on maternity leave . . . we will let you know when she pops!
We have a couple of events planned for this summer so watch this space for updates on what we are doing.