Major revamp for Julian House
A homelessness shelter in Bath is undergoing a major refurbishment with help from one of the city's biggest firms.
Julian House in Manvers Street is being transformed in time for the winter, when pressure on the facility shoots up as the temperatures fall outside.
The scheme, which will see a shift from dormitory-style accommodation to individual rooms to accommodate more women, is being managed by Wessex Water employee Michaela Wilson, who works at the company's headquarters in Claverton Down.
Michaela, who is a quality management systems manager at the firm, is carrying out the work alongside her day job. She said the scheme had presented a number of challenges because of the lack of space available.
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She said: "As I don't work within the organisation, this has its advantages and disadvantages.
"On the one hand I can manage the project without getting caught up in their day-to-day operating activities, but this initially presented a challenge in getting to know the needs of the organisation."
Michaela said she had worked closely with architects O'Leary Goss and contractor Biggs to make the best use of the limited space.
She said: "Early on the focus was very much about improving the night arrangements from dormitory to separate rooms. But as I became more familiar with the operation of the site it became clear to me that just as much, if not more effort needed to be invested into improving the day facilities."
The day activities area is being moved to a part of the building where there is more daylight.
Michaela added: "This is designed to create an environment which more closely replicates that of a stable home."
The development is also refitting the kitchen, laundry, toilets and shower facilities.
Julian House fundraising manager Cecil Weir said: "Michaela's input has been fantastic. A lot of charities say financial support is their biggest challenge but here is a lovely example of how support in kind can be just as valuable."
The shelter is due to reopen in mid-November, and B&NES Council has backed the project with a one-off payment of £90,000 in recognition of the urgent need to improve facilities.
People are currently being housed in the basement of Manvers Street Baptist Church next door.